Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A third-century pseudo-Apostolic collection of moral and hierarchical rules and instructions, compiled in the main from ancient Christian sources, first published in Ethiopic by Ludolf (with Latin translation) in the "Commentarius" to his "Historia Ethiopica" (Frankfort. 1691). It served as a law-code for the Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Arabian churches, and rivalled in authority and esteem the Didache, under which name it sometimes went. Though of undoubted Greek origin, these canons are preserved largely in Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Syriac versions. The Apostolic Church-Ordinance was first published in Greek by Prof. Bickell of Marburg (1843) from a twelfth-century Greek manuscript discovered by him at Vienna (Geschichte des Kirchenrechts, Giessen, 1843, I, 107-132). He also gave the code the name "Apostolische Kirchenordnung" by which it is generally known, though in English it is usually called as above, sometimes Apostolic Church-Order, Apostolic Church-Directory, etc. The document, after a short introduction (i-iii) inspired by the "Letter of Barnabas", is divided into two parts, the first of which (iv-xiv) is an evident adaptation of the first six chapters of the Didache, the moral precepts of which are attributed severally to the Apostles, each of whom, introduced by the formula "John says", "Peter says", etc., is represented as framing one or more of the ordinances. The second part (xv-xxx) treats in similar manner of the qualifications for ordination or for the duties of different officers in the Church. The work was compiled in Egypt, or possibly in Syria, in the third, or, at the latest, in the early part of the fourth, century. Funk assigns its compilation to the first half of the third century; Harnack to about the year 300. Who the compiler was cannot be conjectured, nor can it be determined what part he had in framing canons 15 to 30. Duchesne considers them largely the compiler's own work; Funk thinks he drew upon at least two sources now unknown; while Harnack undertakes to identify by name the now lost documents upon which the compiler almost entirely depended. The Sahidic (Coptic) text was published by Lagarde in "Ægyptiaca" (Leipzig, 1883), and the Bohairic (Coptic) by Tattam (The Apostolical Constitutions, or Canons of the Apostles, London, 1848). The complete Syriac text, with English translation, was published by Dr. Arendzen in "Journal of Theol. Studies" (October, 1901).


More Encyclopedia

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.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Moses: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 07, 2016
  • Lower Your Nets For a Catch! We Are All Called to Evangelize
  • MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey
  • Daily Reading for Monday, February 8th, 2016 HD Video
  • Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice white dies at 74
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, February 07, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, February 7th, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8
1 In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord seated on a high and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:1-11
1 Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 15:1-11
1 I want to make quite clear to you, brothers, what the message of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 7th, 2016 Image

St. Moses
February 7: Arab hermit and bishop who is called "the Apostle ... Read More