Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 162
The Council of Carthage (North Africa, AD 390) establishes the rules for judging clerics.
Canon 10
Qvanti debeant sacerdotem iudicare et levitam.
Felix episcopus selemselitanus dixit: etiam et hoc adicio secundum statuta ueterum conciliorum, ut si quis episcopus, quod non optamus, reatum aliquem incurrerit, et fuerit ei nimia necessitas non posse plurimos congregari: ne in crimine remaneat, a duodecim episcopis audiatur et a sex presbyter et a tribus diaconus cum proprio suo episcopo.
Geneclius episcopus dixit: quid ad haec dicit sanctitas uestra?
ab uniuersis episcopis dictum est: dignum est a nobis ueterum statuta debere conseruari.
(ed. Munier 1974: 17)
Canon 10
How many should judge a priest and a levite.
Felix, bishop of Selemsela, said: I add that according to the statutes of ancient councils if a bishop (which we do not wish!) is accused of any crime, and if it is impossible for a larger number of bishops to gather, lest he remain accused for too long a time, he should be heard by twelve bishops; a presbyter should be heard by six; and a deacon by three, including his own bishop.
Bishop Geneclius said: What do your sanctities say to this?
All bishops said: We agree that it is right to preserve old statutes.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The canon repeats the decision of the council of AD 345/348 [129]. The necessity of the participation of a cleric's own bishop refers probably to the case not only of a deacon, but also of a presbyter. The title of the canon may suggest that the word "sacerdos" refers here both to bishops and presbyters, since "levite" is very strongly linked to deacons. The canon will be repeated at the council of Hippo in AD 393 with the omission of the reference to the judgement of bishops [190]. See also [237] and [758].

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Title: Council of Carthage 390, Concilium Carthaginense a. 390, Concilium Carthaginis Africae secundum
Origin: Carthage (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The plenary council of Catholic bishops of Africa gathered in Carthage in AD 390. It was chaired by the bishop of Carthage, Geneclius, but his archdeacon and successor, Aurelius, was also present. It was the first of a long series of African councils of the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
Ch. Munier ed., Concilia Africae a. 345-a. 525, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 149, Turnhoult 1974.
C. Munier, "Un canon inédit du XXe concile de Carthage: Ut nullus ad Romanam ecclesiam audeat appellare", Revue des Sciences Religieuses 40 (1966), 113-126 .
J. Merdinger, "Augustine and Church Authority: The Developing Role of the Provincial Primate", [in:] Studia Patristica, ed. E. Livingstone, vol. 33, Leuven 1987, 183–189.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
      Public law - Ecclesiastical
        Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER162,