From the Introduction:
The probable relative age of each part of the church order is presented in three broad historical periods. What is thought to be the earliest material, from the second century, is presented in Roman type, words that were subsequently moved or deleted being struck through. This first layer need not have formed a single collection. It could, for example, have consisted of a set of directions about admission to different offices in the church; a document describing how baptisms were to be performed; and some scattered instructions about the eucharistic meal and other aspects of church life, all being subsequently brought together as the first recognizable form of the church order. What are thought to be later (seemingly early to mid third-century) additions to this stratum are printed in italics. Within this layer are some parts, particularly the core of prayer texts, that are as old as the first layer but were only added to the church order at this time. Material that is thought to have been inserted even later (belonging mostly to the late-third or early-fourth century) is marked by underlining.
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We have set down those things that are worthy of note about the gifts that God from the beginning according to his own will bestowed on human beings, presenting that image which had been lost. And now led on by love toward all the saints, we have arrived at the summit of the tradition that is proper for all the churches, so that those who have been well taught by our exposition may guard that tradition which has remained up to now, and being aware [of it] may remain firmer, on account of that fault or error which was recently invented through ignorance and those who are ignorant, since the Holy Spirit bestows perfect grace on those who rightly believe, that they may know how those who preside over the church ought to hand on and preserve all things.
Let him be ordained bishop who has been chosen by all the people, and when he has been named and accepted by all, let him assemble the people assemble together with the presbytery and those bishops who are present, on the Lord’s day. When all give consent, let them the presbytery lay hands on him. and let the presbytery stand by, being still. And let all keep silence, praying in the heart for the descent of the Spirit.; of whom let one of the bishops present, being asked by all, laying the hand on him who is being ordained bishop, pray, saying thus:
‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, dwelling on high and looking on that which is lowly, knowing all things before their creation, You , giving [the] rules of [the]church through the word of your grace, having foreordained from the beginning a righteous race from Abraham, having appointed rulers and priests, and not leaving your sanctuary without a ministry, having been pleased from the creation of the world to be glorified in those whom you chose; and now pour forth the power from you of the spirit of leadership, which you gave through your beloved servant Jesus Christ to your holy apostles who established the church in every place as your sanctuary to the unceasing glory and praise of your name. Knower of the heart, grant to this your servant whom you have chosen for the episcopate to shepherd your holy flock, and to serve as high-priest for you blamelessly night and day, unceasingly to propitiate your countenance, and to offer to you the gifts of your holy church; and in the high-priestly spirit to have authority to forgive sins according to your command, to give lots according to your bidding, to loose every bond according to the authority that you gave to the apostles, and to please you in gentleness and a pure heart, offering you a sweet-smelling savour; through your servant Jesus Christ, through whom [be] glory and power and honour to you, with the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
When he has been made bishop, let all offer the mouth of peace, greeting him because he has been made worthy. And let the deacons bring him the oblation, and let him, laying hands on it with all the presbytery, say, giving thanks: ‘The Lord [be] with you.’ And let them all say, ‘And with your spirit.’ ‘Up [with your] hearts.’ ‘We have [them] to the Lord.’ ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord.’ ‘It is worthy and just.’ And so let him then continue:
‘We render thanks to you, God, through your beloved servant Jesus Christ, whom in the last times you sent to us as saviour and redeemer and messenger of your will, who is your inseparable word, through whom you made all things and it was well pleasing to you, [whom] you sent from heaven into the virgin’s womb, and who conceived in the womb was incarnate and manifested as your Son, born from the Holy Spirit and the virgin; who fulfilling your will and gaining for you a holy people, stretched out [his] hands when he was suffering, that he might release from suffering those who believed in you; who when he was being handed over to voluntary suffering, that he might destroy death and break the bonds of the devil, and tread down hell and illuminate the righteous, and fix a limit and manifest the resurrection, taking bread [and] giving thanks to you, he said: "Take, eat, this is my body that will be broken for you." Likewise also the cup, saying, “This is my blood that is shed for you. When you do this, you do my remembrance."
Remembering therefore his death and resurrection, we offer to you the bread and cup, giving thanks to you because you have held us worthy to stand before you and minister to you. And we ask that you would send your Holy Spirit on the oblation of the holy church, gathering [us] into one, you will give to all who partake of the holy things [to partake] in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, for the strengthening of faith in truth, that we may praise and glorify you through your servant Jesus Christ, through whom [be] glory and honour to you, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in your holy church, both now and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
If anyone offers oil, let him render thanks according to the offering of bread and wine—and let him say [it] not word for word but to similar effect—saying:
‘As sanctifying this oil, you give, God, health to those using and receiving [it], whence you have anointed kings, priests, and prophets, so also may it afford strengthening to all tasting [it] and health to all using it.’
Likwise, if anyone should offer cheese and olives, let him say thus:
‘Sanctify this milk that has been coagulated, coagulating us also to your love, and let us not depart from your sweetness.’
‘[Sanctify] also this fruit of the olive which is a symbol of your richness that you have poured from the tree of life for those who hope in you.’
But in every blessing let there be said, ‘To you [be] glory, Father, and Son with the Holy Spirit, in the holy church, both now and always and to the ages of ages.’
And when a presbyter is ordained, let the bishop lay the hand on his head, the presbyters also touching [him], and let him say according to those things that have been said above, as we have said above about the bishop, praying and saying:
'God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look upon this your servant and impart the spirit of grace and of counsel of the presbytery that he may help and guide your people with a pure heart, just as you looked upon your chosen people and commanded Moses that he should choose presbyters whom you filled with your spirit that you gave to your servant.
And now, Lord, grant the spirit of your grace to be preserved unfailingly in us and make [us] worthy, that believing in you we may minister in simplicity of heart, praising you through your servant, Christ Jesus, through whom to you [be] glory and power, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in the holy church, both now and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
And when a deacon is appointed, let him be chosen according to those things that have been said above, the bishop alone likewise laying on hands as we have prescribed.
In the ordination of a deacon, let the bishop alone lay on hands, because he is not ordained to the priesthood but to the service of the bishop, that he may do those things that are ordered by him. For he is not a participant in the counsel of the clergy, but taking care of and indicating to the bishop what is necessary, not receiving the common spirit of the presbytery, that in which the presbyters are participants, but that which is entrusted to him under the power of the bishop. Wherefore, let the bishop alone make a deacon, but on a presbyter let the presbyters also lay on hands on account of the common and like spirit of the clergy.
For the presbyter has the power of this alone, that he may receive, but he does not have power to give. For this reason he does not ordain the clergy, but at the ordination of a presbyter he seals while the bishop ordains.
And over a deacon let him say thus:
‘God, who created all things and ordered [them] by [your] word, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whom you sent to serve your will and manifest to us your desire, give the holy spirit of grace and caring and diligence to this your servant whom you have chosen to minister for your church, and to present in your sanctuary that which is offered to you by your high priest to the glory of your name, that serving blamelessly in a pure way of life, he may be counted worthy of this high office and may praise you through your servant Son Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom to you [be] glory and power and praise with the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
The confessors, if they have been in bonds because of the name of Jesus Christ, let them not have the hand laid on them for the diaconate or the presbytery, for he has the honour of the presbytery by his confession. But if he is appointed bishop, let him have the hand laid on him. And if he is a confessor who was not taken before an authority, or punished in bonds, or shut in prison, or condemned by any judgement, but by chance was greatly abused for his Lord or otherwise punished under house arrest, let the hand be laid on him for every office of which he is worthy.
And let the bishop give thanks as we said before. It is not absolutely necessary for him to give thanks according to this teaching, but according to his ability. If he is able to give a grand and elevated [prayer], then good; but if something of lesser quality, there is nothing to prevent it, if indeed it is sound and correct.
When a widow is appointed, she is not to be ordained, but she is chosen by name if it has been a long time since the loss of her husband. If instead she lost her husband a short time ago, let her not be trusted. But if she is an old woman, her emotions will be under control, because it is the time when passions grow old. Let the widow be appointed by the word, becoming enrolled with the rest, but she does not receive ordination by the hand because she does not teach but is appointed only for prayer, which is allowed to all.
A reader is appointed when the bishop gives him the book. For he is not ordained.
The hand shall not be laid on a virgin, but her choice alone is what makes her a virgin.
The hand shall not be laid on a subdeacon, but he shall be named to follow the deacon, and perform the baptism for the bishop.
If someone says, ‘I received the gift of healing through a revelation’, the hand shall not be laid on him, for the work itself will reveal if he has truly received it.
Those to be baptized who come for the first time to hear the Word, before they are admitted into the midst of all the people, let them be brought first to the teacher. And let them be asked about their activity, for what reason they have come to be admitted. And let those who have brought them be their witnesses as to whether they are able to hear the Word. And let them be questioned about their life: Does he have a wife? Is he a slave? Does his master permit him? If he is the slave of a believer, let him bear witness. If he does not witness in his favour, let him be rejected. If he [the master] is a pagan, teach him to please his master, so there shall be no scandal.
And if there is one who has a wife or a woman who has a husband, let them be instructed to remain with his wife or with her husband. And if there is one who is not married, let him be taught not to fornicate; either let him marry legally or if not, remain as he is. And if there is one who has a demon, let him not hear the word of the teacher until he is purified.
Let it be asked what are the crafts and professions of those who will be admitted. If one is a brothel keeper who is a caretaker of prostitutes, let him abandon this activity or be rejected. If one is a sculptor or a painter, let him be taught not to make idols, and if he refuses, let him be rejected. If he is one who performs in the theatre, let him cease or otherwise be rejected. If he teaches young children, it is good thing for him to cease. If he does not have another profession, let it be conceded.
Again, one who competes with horses and enters the games, let him abandon this activity or be rejected. A gladiator or an instructor of gladiators, or one who fights with bears, who engages in public combat, let him be rejected. A priest of the idols or a custodian of the idols—that is, one who guards them—let him cease or be rejected.
A soldier who finds himself in a certain authority, let him not kill; and also if he is ordered, let him not offer sacrifice, swear [the military oath], and not put wreaths on the head. One who executes with the sword, or a ruler of a city or one who wears the purple, let him cease or otherwise be rejected. A catechumen or one of the faithful, if he desires to be enlisted [in the army], let him be rejected because he did a wrong to the Lord.
A prostitute or profligate man or one who castrated himself, if he abandons his activity, he can be admitted to hear. Let a sorcerer be rejected, because he does not come under consideration. A magician, one who practises incantations, an astrologer, one who interprets dreams, an enchanter, and one who makes phylacteries, let them cease, or if not, be rejected.
Someone’s concubine, if she raised the children that she gave him and is his alone, let her be admitted to hear, and if not, let her be rejected. A man really commits murder if he has a concubine; let him cease and let him marry legally. But if he is unwilling, let him be rejected.
If there is anything that we have overlooked, the fact itself will teach, for we all have the Holy Spirit in us.
Let the catechumen be a hearer for three years; but if one is engaged in something and is dedicated with perseverance, it is not judged according to the time, but according to the character.
Let the catechumens, when they have left the teacher, pray apart from the faithful. And let the women be standing by themselves. Let the faithful not exchange the sign of peace with the catechumens, for they are not yet holy. Let the faithful kiss each other, men with men and women with women; they kiss on the mouth.
Let all the women veil themselves with a veil on the head, not with soft linen, for this is not a covering; but the virgins do not veil themselves because their state as a believer is obvious.
Let the teacher, after they have prayed, lay a hand on the catechumens, and after having prayed, let him dismiss them. The one who teaches, even if he is a layperson, let him do so.
If there is a catechumen who is arrested for the name and perseveres, let him not be in two minds; For if there is a sudden attack and he is killed before he receives his forgiveness, he will have been baptized with his blood and is justified.
When those who are to receive [baptism] have been chosen, after their life has been examined—if as catechumens they lived virtuously, if they honoured the widows, and if they visited the sick, and if they did good works—let those who brought them testify for them, and thus let them hear the Gospel. From the time that they have been chosen, let hands be laid on them in the mornings, exorcising them. And when the day draws near, let the bishop exorcise each one of them so that he may be sure that they have become pure. If any suspicion results, let him be turned away and disgraced because he did not hear faithfully; indeed an alien being cannot reside in him.
Let those who are intended to be baptized be instructed to take a bath on the fifth day of the week. But if there is a woman is menstruating, let her be turned away and let her be baptized on another day. Let those who are to be baptized fast on the day of preparation and the Sabbath. On the Sabbath let the bishop, after having gathered those who are to be baptized, command them to kneel, and laying his hand on them, let him exorcise [them], saying, ‘Let every alien spirit be cast out from them and not return again.’ When he has exorcised [them], let him blow and having signed their foreheads and their ears and nostrils, let him raise them up.
In the night let them be read to and be instructed. Let there be no other thing that they bring, those who are to be baptized, except each a loaf for the Eucharist, because it is appropriate for those who participate to offer something at that time.
At the time of cockcrow, let them come to the water. Let the water be flowing or at least running. And let it be so if there is no exigency. If there is concern about an exigency, do it with any water.
So let them take off their clothes. Give precedence to the small children and baptize them; let those who are able reply, or alternatively let their parents or another one from their family reply; afterwards, the grown men; and finally the women, loosening the hair and laying aside their jewellery. Let no one have anything with them, while they go down into the water.
When they are to receive the oil of exorcism, let the bishop give thanks over a vessel and let him exorcise another.
Let a deacon take the exorcised oil and stand near the presbyter; similarly the other, the oil of thanksgiving. Let him stand on the right, and the presbyter who exorcises stand on the left. Let him take them one by one and ask if he believes. Let him [the candidate] say, ‘I renounce you, Satan, all your works, all your service, and all your contamination.’ And once he has declared his profession, let him be anointed with the oil of exorcism, pronouncing [the words] for the purification from every alien spirit. Thus, let him deliver him to the bishop or the presbyter, to the one who baptizes him,[the candidate] standing naked in the water. Let the deacon also go down with him into the water.
And when the one who is being baptized goes down into the water, let the one who baptizes him say, ‘Do you believe in one God Almighty?’ Let the one who is being baptized say, ‘I believe.’ Having [his] hand laid on his head, let him baptize [him] once. And afterwards let him say, ‘Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary and crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died and was buried and rose on the third day alive from the dead, and ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the living and the dead?’ And when he has said, ‘I believe’, let him be baptized again. And again let him say, ‘Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy church and the resurrection of the flesh?’ Then let the one who is being baptized say, ‘I believe’, and let him be baptized a third time.
And afterward, when he has come up, let him be anointed by the presbyter with that oil which was sanctified, saying: ‘I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.’
so individually drying themselves, let them now dress and afterward
enter into the church.
And let the bishop, laying [his] hand on them, invoke, saying, ‘Lord God, who have made them worthy to receive the forgiveness of sins through the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit, send on them your grace, that they may serve you according to your will, for to you is glory, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in the holy church, both now and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
Afterward, pouring the sanctified oil from [his] hand and placing [it] on the head, let him say, ‘I anoint you with holy oil in God the Father Almighty and Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.’ And signing [him] on the forehead, let him offer [him] a kiss and let him say, ‘The Lord [be] with you.’ And let the one who has been signed say,’And with your spirit.’ Let him do this to each one.
And afterward let them pray together with all the people, not praying with the faithful until they have carried out all these things. And when they have prayed, let them offer the peace with the mouth.
And then let the oblation be presented by the deacons to the bishop and let him give thanks over the bread for the representation of the body of Christ, and over the cup of mixed wine for the representation of the blood that was shed for those who believe in him; and milk and honey mixed together for the fulfilment of the promise that was made to the fathers, which said, ‘I will give a land flowing [with] milk and honey’, and which Christ gave as his flesh, through which, like little children, those who believe are nourished, the gentleness of his word making sweet the bitterness of the heart; and water for an offering as a sign of washing, that the inner person also, which is the soul, may receive the same as the body. And let the bishop give an explanation about all these things to those who receive.
And breaking the bread [and] distributing individual pieces, let him say, ‘Heavenly bread in Christ Jesus.’ And let the one who receives respond, ‘Amen.’ And if the presbyters are not sufficient, let the deacons also hold the cups, and let them stand in good order: first the one who holds the water, second the one who [holds] the milk, third the one who [holds] the wine. And let those who receive taste of each, three times, the one who gives saying, ‘In God the Father Almighty.’ And let the one who receives say, ‘Amen.’ ‘And in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ And let him say, ‘Amen.’ ‘And in the Holy Spirit and the holy church.’ And let him say, ‘Amen.’ So let it be done with each one.
And when these things have been done, let each one hasten to do good works pleasing to God, and to live uprightly, devoted to the church, doing the things that he has learned, advancing in the service of God.
It is therefore fitting to be given this in brief on the washing and on the offering, because they have already been taught. But concerning the resurrection of the flesh and concerning everything according to the Scriptures, as is convenient, let the bishop reveal and explain at the time when they are to be baptized, in contrast to what is given to catechumens. This is the white stone of which John said that on it is a new name that no one knows except the one who is baptized.
And on the Sabbath and on the first [day of] the week let the bishop with his own hand, if it is possible, distribute to all the people, as the deacons break [the bread]. And let the presbyters break the baked bread. And if the deacon offers to the presbyter, let him spread out his garment, and let him [the presbyter] take. But he [the deacon?] distributes to the people with his hand. And on the other days let them receive as the bishop has ordered.
Let the widows and the virgins fast often, and let them pray for the church. Let the presbyters fast when they wish, and likewise lay people. A bishop is not able to fast except when all the people [fast]. For it happens when someone wishes to offer, he is not able to refuse, but having broken, he always tastes.
Let the deacon in an emergency give the sign to the sick promptly if there is no presbyter, and when he has given, as soon as possible let him take from what has been distributed and consume it straightaway.
Let him give the blessing diligently. If someone takes a gift which is to be given to a widow or to a sick person or one who is occupied with work for the church, let him bring it on that same day. And if he does not, let him bring it on the following day, after adding something of his own, because the bread of the poor remained with him.
At the [Lord’s] Supper, when the bishop is present, after evening has come, let the deacon bring in the lamp, and after standing among the faithful who are there, let him give thanks. Let him first offer a greeting thus, saying: ‘The Lord [be] with you.’ And let the people say: ‘And with your spirit.’ ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord.’ ‘It is right and just.’ But let him not say, ‘Up with your hearts’, because it is said at the oblation.. And let him pray: ‘We give you thanks, O God, through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom you have enlightened us, revealing to us the light that does not perish. Having, therefore, finished the length of the day and arrived at the beginning of the night, having been filled with the light of the day that you created for our satisfaction, and now, as we do not lack the evening light by your grace, we praise you and glorify you through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom [is] glory, might, and honour with the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.’
And let the faithful who are present at the Supper take from the bishop’s hand a small piece of bread before they break their own bread. For this is a blessing and not the Eucharist like the body of our Lord.
Before they all drink, once they have washed [their hands], it is fitting that those who are present taste of the cup over which thanks have been given, and so feast. But to the catechumens let exorcised bread be given and let each one help themselves to a cup.
Let a catechumen at the Lord’s Supper not sit together [with the faithful]. But through the whole meal, let the one who eats be mindful of the one who invited him, because for that reason he requested that he should enter under his roof.
When eating and drinking, do it with moderation and not to the point of drunkenness and ridicule, or that the one who invited you blame himself because of your disorderliness, but that he may be pleased to have been worthy that saints may enter in to him, for ‘You’, he said,’ are the salt of the earth.’ And if a portion is offered in common to all (which is called in Greek apophoreton), take it. But if it is so that all may eat, eat with moderation, so that some may remain and the one who invited you may send [it] to whomever he wishes, as from the leftovers of the saints, and may rejoice at your coming.
And let those who are invited to eat, do so in silence, not contending with words, except when the bishop allows, and if he asks anything, answer shall be given him. And when the bishop says a word, let everyone remain modestly silent, until he asks again.
Even if without the bishop the faithful are at supper with a presbyter or deacon present, let them similarly eat appropriately. And let everyone hasten to receive the blessing from the hand, whether from a presbyter or from a deacon. Similarly, a catechumen shall receive it exorcised. If the laity are together, let them act with moderation, for a lay person cannot make the blessing.
Let everyone eat in the name of the Lord. For this is pleasing to God, that we should be envied among the peoples, all alike and sober.
If someone wishes to feed the widows already mature in age, after they have eaten let him dismiss them before evening. But if this is not possible because of the lot he has been assigned, giving them food and wine, let him send them away and let them partake of it at their own homes, as it pleases them.
Let each one hasten bring to the bishop the fruits of the first harvest; and let the one who offers bless [them] and name the one who brought [them], saying: ‘We give thanks to you, God, and we bring to you the first of the fruits that you have given us to eat, [you] nourishing them by your word, ordering the earth to bear all fruits for the enjoyment and nourishment of people and for all animals. For all these we praise you, God, and in all things with which you have benefitted us, adorning for us the whole creation with varied fruits, through your servant Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom to you [be] glory to the ages of ages. Amen.’
Fruits indeed are blesssed, that is, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive, pear, apple, mulberry, peach, cherry, almond, plum; not pumpkin, not melon, not cucumber, not onion, not garlic, or any of the other vegetables. But sometimes flowers are brought. Therefore let the rose and the lily be offered, but not others.
And in all things that are eaten, let them give thanks to the holy God, eating to his glory.
At the Pascha let no one eat before the oblation has been made. For whoever does so, for him the fast does not count. But if anyone is pregnant or sick and is not able to fast for two days, let them fast on the Sabbath because of [their] necessity, confining [themselves] to bread and water. If anyone finding himself at sea or in some necessity did not know the day, when he learned of this, let him observe the fast after Pentecost. For the type has passed, because it ceased in the second month, and he ought to fast when he has learned the truth.
Let each deacon with the subdeacons attend on the bishop. Let him also be told who are sick, so that, if it is pleasing to the bishop, he may visit them. For a sick person is greatly consoled when the high priest remembers him.
Let the faithful, as soon as they have woken and risen, before they touch their work, pray to God and so hasten to their work. And if there is any instruction in the word, let him give preference to this so that he hurries and hears the Word of God for the comfort of his soul. Let him hasten to the church, where the Spirit flourishes.
Let every faithful [person] try to receive the Eucharist before he tastes anything. For if he receives in faith, even if someone may give him something deadly after this, it will not overpower him.
Let everyone take care that an unbeliever does not taste of the Eucharist, nor a mouse or any other animal, nor that any of it falls and is lost. For the body of Christ is to be eaten by the faithful and not to be despised.
For having blessed the name of God, you received it as the antitype of the blood of Christ. Therefore refrain from pouring out [any], as if you despised [it], so that an alien spirit may not lick it up. You will be guilty of blood, as one who scorned the price with which he has been bought.
Always try to sign your forehead reverently. For this sign of the Passion is displayed against the devil, if anyone is to do [it] with faith, not to please human beings but through knowledge presenting [it] as a breastplate. When the adversary sees the power of the Spirit from the heart clearly displayed in the likeness of baptism, he will flee trembling, with you not striking him but breathing [on him]. This is what Moses [did] typologically with the lamb that was sacrificed at the Passover: he sprinkled the blood on the threshold and anointing the two doorposts, signified that faith in the perfect lamb that is now in us. Signing the forehead and eyes with the hand, let us escape from the one who is trying to destroy us. And so, when these things are heard with thankfulness and true orthodox faith, they provide edification for the church and eternal life for believers. I instruct that these things be kept by those who are wise. For to all who hear the apos. . . .
And let the deacons with the presbyters gather in the early morning where the bishop has commanded, and let the deacons not miss being present always, unless they are prevented by an illness. Once they have gathered, let them tell it to the church, and so, after praying, let each one do what is right.
Those who are buried in the cemeteries, let them not overcharge them, for this work is done for the poor; only the wage for the gravedigger and the price of the tiles. And let those who take care of the place and live there be supported by the bishop, so that it shall not be a burden for those who come.
And let every faithful man and woman, at dawn when they have arisen from sleep, before doing anything, wash their hands and pray to the Lord, and so let them go to their work. But if it happens that there is instruction in the word of God, let each one always prefer to go there; let each one acknowledge to himself that he is hearing the universal word of the Lord; for having been seen in the church, you will be able to evade the evil of the day. Let the one who fears God therefore consider this a loss when he is not present at the proclamation of the word of instruction, or when the only one who can read arrived late, or the teacher comes. Do not leave the church while the instruction is being held, because then it is given to the speaker to say what will be profitable for all. While the Spirit gives [you] things you do not hope for, having heard, you will benefit and your faith will become firm through what has been said, and in your home say what you have heard. Because of this, let each one hasten to the church, where the Spirit flourishes. If there is a day when instruction is not held, let him also read in his home something from holy Scripture as far as is possible.
At the time of the third hour, while you pray, if you are in your house, praise the Lord; if in another place, pray in your heart to God, having paid attention to the particular time, because at that hour we welcome Christ’s return. Because of this also the Law commands that they offer the type of the lamb and of the bread in the image of the perfect lamb, Christ the shepherd, who is the bread of heaven.
So likewise at the sixth hour, for once Christ had been nailed [to the cross], the day divided and there was darkness. Because of this, let prayer be continued, like the voice of the one who prayed and that of the prophets, while the creation became dark for unbelievers.
At the ninth [hour] let the prayer be prolonged with praise because we are united in praising while the soul of the righteous praise God, who does not lie, who was mindful of his saints and sent his Word to illuminate them. Therefore at that hour Christ, pierced in his side, poured forth water and blood, and illuminating the rest of the time of the day, he brought [it] to evening. Then, beginning to sleep [and] making the beginning of another day, he completed an image of the resurrection. Pray also before your body rests on the bed.
And rising about midnight, wash your hands with water and pray. And if your wife is also present, pray both together; but if she is not yet a believer, withdrawing into another room, pray and return again to your bed. And do not be lazy about praying. The one who is bound in marriage is not defiled. For those who have washed do not have necessity to wash again, because they are clean. Through consignation with moist breath and catching your spittle in your hand, your body is sanctified down to your feet. For when it is offered with a believing heart, just as from the font, the gift of the Spirit and the sprinkling of washing sanctifies the one who believes. Therefore it is necessary to pray at this hour. For the elders who handed [it] on to us taught us so, because at this hour all creation is still for a moment, so that they may praise the Lord: stars and trees and waters stop for an instant, and all the host of angels [that] ministers to him praises God at this hour together with the souls of the righteous. Therefore those who believe ought to take care to pray at this hour. Also bearing witness to this, the Lord says thus, ‘Behold, a shout was made about midnight of those saying, "Behold the bridegroom comes: rise to meet him."' And he goes on, saying, ‘Therefore watch; for you do not know at what hour he comes.’
And rising about cockcrow, likewise. For at that hour, when the cock crowed, the sons of Israel denied Christ, whom we know by faith, looking toward this day in the hope of eternal light at the resurrection of the dead.
And acting thus, all you faithful ones, and making a remembrance of them and in turn teaching and encouraging the catechumens, you will not be able to be tempted or to perish, when you always have Christ in remembrance.
Always take care to sign your forehead reverently. For this sign of the Passion is clear and approved against the devil, if you do it with faith, not so that you may be seen by people but through knowledge presenting [it] like a breastplate. For when the adversary sees the power that is from the heart of a person clearly displayed in the likeness of the washing, he will flee trembling, not by spitting but by breathing. This is what Moses earlier showed with the lamb of the Passover that was sacrificed, who sprinkled the blood on the lintels and smeared the doorposts, so he made known the faith that is now in us, which is in the perfect lamb. And signing the forehead and eyes with the hand, let us escape from the one who is trying to destroy us.
And so, if these things are received with thankfulness and true faith, they provide edification for the church and eternal life for believers. I instruct that these things be kept by all the wise. For to all who listen to the apostolic tradition, the heresies will not be able draw any righteous one into error. For heresies have increased in this way because of you lacking the apostolic tradition, the leaders who love the doctrine and who abandon themselves to various passions of their own desire, not those things that are proper. (If we have abbreviated anything, our brothers, may God reveal [it] to those who are worthy, as he steers the holy church into the tranquil harbour.)