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Orthodox Canon Law: A Casebook for Study, Second Edition

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"When the average Orthodox hears the words "canon law," among the things that may come to mind are a dusty code or a set of severe regulations resulting in excommunication for the slightest infraction. Far from it, Fr. Viscuso conveys the point that canon law, as the tradition of the canons, is an incarnational reality. The canons are pastoral standards manifesting God's saving truth, rather than a set of harsh authoritarian rules. The author uses a unique approach with case studies to elicit answers from the readers while including an answer key at the end of the work to provide an extremely enlightening and lively commentary. This book will initiate dialogue and will be an exciting resource for all interested in the life of the Church."

- Rev. Dr. Joseph Allen, Director, Antiochian House of Studies and Professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

"Among the most misunderstood and least appreciated dimensions of the life of the Orthodox Church is its canon law. This fact applies to the laity and, to a lesser degree, also to the clergy. The reason for this bias is the degree of misinformation that abounds regarding the Church's canonical tradition. Fr. Viscuso has attempted to put to rest such misgivings. The book Orthodox Canon Law: A Casebook for Study offers a real-life view of the central issues involved in Orthodox canon law." 

- Lewis J. Patsavos, Professor of Canon Law and Director of Field Education at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.



Principal Abbreviations

Part I - Introduction to Canon Law

p. 1

Case Study 1 - Framework of Legislation

p. 6

Case Study 2 - The Nature of the Canons

p. 8

Case Study 3 - The Nature of the Canons (continued)

p. 10

Case Study 4 - Guidance by the Holy Spirit and the Canons

p. 12

Case Study 5 - Imperial Law and the Canons

p. 16

Case Study 6 - The Authority of Ecumenical Councils

p. 19

Case Study 7 - Episcopal Discretion, Canonical Answers, and the Canons

p. 20

Case Study 8 - The Holy Synod of Constantinople and the Canons

p. 23

Case Study 9 - The Admission of Latins to Communion

p. 25

Case Study 10 -  The Question of Lawsuit against a Hierarch

p. 26

Part II - Marriage and Gender Issues

p. 31

Case Study 11 - The Purpose of Marriage

p. 32

Case Study 12 - Marriage Impediments from Kinship

p. 34

Case Study 13 - Marriage Impediments from Ordination

p. 37

Case Study 14 - Impediments from Second Marriage

p. 40

Case Study 15 - Impediments from Third Marriage

p. 42

Case Study 16 - The Second Marriage of Clergy

p. 44

Case Study 17 - Remarriage of Priests' Wives

p. 46

Case Study 18 - Celibacy versus Marriage

p. 48

Case Study 19 - Marital Relations

p. 50

Case Study 20 - Brides for Priests

p. 53

Case Study 21 - Marriage - A Mystery for the Non-Orthodox?

p. 54

Case Study 22 - Imperial Law, the Canons, and Divorce

p. 56

Case Study 23 - Three Marriages?

p. 59

Case Study 24 - The Eucharist and the Formation of Marriage

p. 61

Part III - The Structure of the Church

p. 65

Case Study 25 - Who Appointed the Bishops?

p. 67

Case Study 26 - Were the Synods the First Spiritual Courts?

p. 69

Case Study 27 - Were Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem Exceptional?

p. 72

Case Study 28 - The Dioceses and Constantinople

p. 75

Case Study 29 - What Were the Foundations of Autocephaly?

p. 80

Case Study 30 - What Were the Foundations of Autocephaly? (continued)

p. 80

Case Study 31 - Pentarchy?

p. 83

Case Study 32 - Was the Early Church the Real Church?

p. 87

Case Study 33 - The Diaspora

p. 90

Discussion Guide

p. 99

General Conclusions

p. 151

Resources for the Study of Orthodox Canon Law

p. 159


p. 167

Appendix 1 - Holy Apostles - Canons 34 and 37

p. 168

Appendix 2  - Kinship from Sponsorship at Holy Baptism

p. 171

Appendix 3 - Sources of Canon Law

p. 176

About the Author

p. 180

Product Description


180 Pages


Holy Cross Orthodox Press



Product Dimensions:

8 x 10


Patrick Viscuso

Publication Year:


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