The continued use of church orders in non-Chalcedonian churches

Somewhere in his oevre Paul Bradshaw reflects on the question of why the church orders disappear from use within Chalcedonian churches, whereas in non-Chalcedonian circles they continue to be preserved and reworked.

Writing an encyclopaedia article on canons of church councils (and wishing I’d never accepted the commission) I came across David Heith-Stade, “Marriage in the canons of the council in Trullo” Studia Theologica 64 (2010), 4-21. Heath-Stade, at 18-19, points out that by this point in the seventh century large amounts of Byzantine territory had fallen into Islamic hands, so there was a particular need for a legal framework within which Christians under Islamic rule might operate, since the common law of the Empire might no longer apply. Obviously the Chalcedonian churches are outwith the jurisdiction of these councils; which leads me to wonder whether the reason for the preservation and continued reworking of the church orders in the non-Chalcedonian churches is the same as that suggested for the Quinisext by Heath-Stade, namely to continue to provide a basis for ecclesiastical governance within a civil Islamic framework.

Just a thought…


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