A monk of the Order of St. Basil, living in the fourteenth century, who applied himself to the study of theology and canon law. Through the labours of John the Scholastic, Photius, Zonaras, Balsamon, and others the Greek Church possessed some collections of laws and commentaries. There was, however, need of a more comprehensive work, and one better adapted to the needs of the time. It appeared about 1335, in the "Syntagma" of Blastares, a collection of ecclesiastical constitutions in alphabetical order, written in Greek. The full title might be translated into Latin thus: "Syntagma alphabeticum rerum omium, quae in sacris divinisque canonibus comprehenduntur, elaboratum partier et compositum per minimum ex hieromonachis Matthaeum Blastarem". The collection, which contains a long preface, is arranged alphabetically by means of the initial letters of the words which indicate the subject-matter of each chapter; several chapters are thus found under one letter. For example under the Greek Lambda : Thoughts concerning the degrees of relationship in reference to matrimony, concerning marriages permitted and prohibited. Under Delta : Thoughts on last testaments, deacons, justice, ecclesiastical trials, etc.
In each chapter the author first gives the law of the Church on the subject and then, if there be any, the civil law also, setting forth the sense rather than the exact wording of either, and contenting himself with noting where the constitutions referred to may be found. The "Syntagma", commonly called "Nomocanon" or, by metaphor, ( pedalion ) (rudder), soon became extensively employed, and is still used in the Greek Church, as is evidenced by the fact that an edition of the work in six volumes was published in Athens from 1852 to 1860, under the auspices of the Holy Synod. This edition bears the title: ( Syntagma ton Theion kai hieron kanonon ). This work is also found in the Synodicon of Beveridge (P.G., CXLIV, CXLV) published at Oxford in 1672. There are also attributed to Blastares a tract on matrimonial cases, and two poems published by Goar in Greek and Latin, one on the offices of the Church of Constantinople, the other on the court. His "Syntagma", like other medieval law-books of the Greeks, breathes a spirit inimical to the Roman Church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online