Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 65
The Council of Carthage (North Africa) AD 345/348 forbids the ordination of clerics and laymen from other churches.
Canon 5
Vt clerici et laici alterius ecclesia non ordinentur.
Priuatus episcopus Beieiselitanus dixit: suggero sanctitati uestrae ut statuatis non debere clericum alienum ab aliquo suscipi sine litteris episcopi sui, neque apud se detinere, sed nec laicum usurpare sibi de plebe aliena, ut eum ordinet sine conscientia eius episcopi de cuius plebe est.
Gratus episcopus dixit: haec obseruata res pacem custodit; nam et memini sanctissimi concilii sardicensis similiter statutum ut nemo alterius plebis hominem sibi usurpet, sed si forte erit necessarium ordinationi, ut de uicino homo sit necessarius, petat a collega suo et consensum habeat.
(ed. Munier 1974: 6)
Canon 5
Clerics and laymen should not be ordained in another church.
Privatus, the bishop of Beieiseli, said: I propose that your holinesses decide that no clergyman should be accepted or kept without the letters of his bishop, neither should a layman be taken from another church and ordained without the knowledge of his bishop.
Bishop Gratus said: This should be observed for the sake of peace; I remember a similar rule made by the most holy council of Sardica, that nobody should take a man from another community, but that if [a bishop] really needs to ordain someone from a neighbouring [diocese], consent from his colleague should be asked for.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The canon prohibits ordaining people from other dioceses without the consent of their bishops. The canon mentions ordaining clerics (i.e. promoting them to a higher grade) and also laymen. It can be presumed that this concerned rather higher clerical grades, including the presbyterate, since ordaining to lower grades probably would not cause arguments: it is also difficult to see how there could be a pressing need for e.g. an ostiarius.
What were the reasons for prohibiting ordaining people in other dioceses? Firstly, not to allow the situation in which someone deemed unsuitable for an ordination by his bishop simply went to another. Secondly, there might have been an issue of the disproportion of the number of clergy; candidates might have been preferring to go to bigger cities. See also [126] about the letters needed to accept communion in other dioceses.
Bishop Gratus mentioned Canon 13 (16 in the Latin version) of the Council of Sardica (AD 343/344).

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 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.  


Travel and change of residence
    Ecclesiastical transfer
      Described by a title - Clericus
        Reasons for ordination - Pastoral needs of the Christian community
          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, ER65,