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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Cairo, Council of

There seems to have been at least one such, held in the 5th century, not otherwise noted. Certain bishops of Egypt having by their conduct given offence to many of the principal Christian inhabitants of Misra (now Cairo), the latter requested Cyril, the seventy-fifth patriarch of Alexandria, to deprive them of his communion. He refused to do so, and the other prelates presented a memorial to the vizier. A synod was assembled at Misra in 1239, which was -opened by the vizier in a harangue, severely rebuking the prelates for having disregarded the honor due the -patriarch. He requested them to furnish him with such information as would enable him to pronounce a -correct judgment. This was accordingly done by both parties, and at the end of three weeks the vizier summoned the bishops before him, and telling them that he had not read the collection of canons which they had put into his hands, and that he did not intend to read them, declared that he could do nothing else but exhort them to unity and peace, as worshippers of the same God, and as professors of the same religion. The recusant prelates held a conference with Cyril, the end of which was their agreeing to return into concord with him, upon condition of his subscribing certain articles containing the points necessary to be reformed in the Church. To this Cyril consented, and the articles were drawn up accordingly. At the head of these articles was placed the confession of faith according to the decisions of the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus (which alone are recognized by the Jacobites). Then follows a profession concerning the observance of all things contained in Holy Scripture, the apostolical -canons, and the decrees of those councils which the Jacobite Church receives, as well as of those customs which were in use in the Coptic Church. Among the new decrees then made were the following:

That the patriarch should not excommunicate any one in the diocese of another bishop, except upon lawful and canonical grounds; and not even so, except the bishop, having been duly admonished to do this, should refuse, without assigning an adequate cause.

That (on the other hand) the patriarch should not absolve one excommunicated by his own bishop, unless it should appear that the excommunication was unjust,-and the bishop himself, after two monitions, should refuse to do so.

That each bishop should have entire control over his own diocese; that nothing should be taken from it territorially; and that so in like manner each bishop should confine himself to the boundaries of his diocese on the day of his consecration. That the patriarch should not apply to his own use the offerings made in the churches on festival days, or at certain accustomed times, but that they should be at the disposal of the bishop of the diocese: except the patriarch should consent, at his consecration, to take such offerings in lieu of his usual pension.

Cyril and his suffragans retired from the vizier's presence, rejoicing that so dangerous an appeal had had so happy an issue.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cairo, Council of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/c/cairo-council-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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