Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 64
The Council of Carthage (North Africa, AD 345/348) forbids clerics to live with unrelated women.
Canon 3
Vt clerici vel sanctimoniales feminae cum extraneis viris vel feminis non habitent.
[...] Si ergo laici sunt, post commonitionem, si contempserint, a communione separentur; si autem clerici sunt, honore priuentur.
(ed. Munier 1974: 5)
Canon 3
Clerics and nuns should not live with unrelated men or women.
[...] If they are lay, and pay no attention to admonishment, they should be separated from the communion; and if they are clerics, they should be deprived of their dignity.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


This brief canon raises several questions:
1. Common sense suggests that clerics were forbidden to live with unrelated ("extraneous") women, and nuns with unrelated men, but is it really true, or may the prohibition extend to a general ban on unrelated people living with clerics and nuns?
2. What exactly does an "unrelated" person mean? Does it extend to other family members, household slaves and so on?
3. What is the relation of the canon to the clerical celibate? I think that it refers to presbyters who were either unmarried or left their wives after ordination, because a wife probably would be much more intolerant than the council canon against an "unrelated woman" in her husband's house.
4. We translate "sanctimoniales feminae" as "nuns", for the lack of better words. It is not exactly clear whether they are the laity threatened with excommunication in the second part of the canon; this is probable, althought the word may refer also to the "unrelated" men living with them, and "unrelated" women living with the clerics.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Carthage

About the source:

Title: Council of Carthage 345/348, Concilium Carthaginense sub Grato a. 345/348, Concilium Carthaginis Africae primum
Origin: Carthage (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The synod of Catholic bishops gathered between AD 345 and 348, mainly in order to resist the Donatists.
Munier, Charles, ed. Concilia Africae a. 345 – a. 525. Corpus Christianorum. Series latina, v. 149. Turnhoult: Brepols, 1974, 3–10.  


Sexual life - Extramarital
    Described by a title - Clericus
      Relation with - Other relative
        Relation with - Woman
          Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
            Administration of justice - Excommunication/Anathema
              Administration of justice - Demotion
                  Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER64,