Virgin and Child, Enthroned, The Master of Moulins, 1499





The Didache
ca. ? 95 AD
ΔΙΔΑΧΑΙ ΤΩΝ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ Διδαχὴ κυρίου τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.
 (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)

Διδαχαὶ τῶν ἀποστολῶν  ed. J.P. Audet La Didachè. Instructions des Apôtres (Lecoffre, Paris 1958) pp. 226-242. TLG 1311


[The Two Ways; The First Commandment]


1THERE are two ways,2 one of life and one of death;3 but a great difference between the two ways. 2. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God4 who made you; second, your neighbour as yourself;5 and whatever you do not want to happen to you, do not do to another.6 1.1Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου, διαφορὰ δὲ πολλὴ μεταξὺ τῶν ὁδῶν. 1.2Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς ἐστιν αὕτη· πρῶτον ἀγαπήσεις τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά σε, δεύτερον τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν· πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι, καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει.

  3. And of these sayings7 the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you.8 For what grace [thanks] is there, if you love those who love you? Do not also the Gentiles do the same?9 But you are to love those who hate you; and you shall not have an enemy.10

1.3 Τούτων δὲ τῶν λόγων ἡ διδαχή ἐστιν αὕτη· [Εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν, νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς· ποία γὰρ χάρις, ἐὰν φιλῆτε τοὺς φιλοῦντας ὑμᾶς; Οὐχὶ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τοῦτο ποιοῦσιν;Ὑμεῖς δὲ φιλεῖτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς καὶ οὐχ ἕξετε ἐχθρόν. 1.4

  4. Abstain from fleshly desires.11 If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other as well,12 and you will be perfect. If someone impresses you for one mile, go with him two.13 If someone takes away your cloak, give him also your coat.14 If someone takes from you what is yours, do not ask for it back15 for indeed you are not able.

̓Απέχου τῶν σαρκικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν.Ἐάν τις σοι δῷ ῥάπισμα εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα, στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην, καὶ ἔσῃ τέλειος· ἐὰν ἀγγαρεύσῃ σέ τις μίλιον ἕν, ὕπαγε μετ' αὐτοῦ δύο· ἐὰν ἄρῃ τις τὸ ἱμάτιόν σου, δὸς αὐτῷ καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα· ἐὰν λάβῃ τις ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ σόν, μὴ ἀπαίτει· οὐδὲ γὰρ δύνασαι.
5. Give to every one who asks you, and do not ask for it back;16 for the Father wills that to all should be given from our own  [free] gifts.17 1.5 Παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντί σε δίδου καὶ μὴ ἀπαίτει· πᾶσα γὰρ θέλει δίδοσθαι ὁ πατὴρ ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων χαρισμάτων.

Happy is he who gives according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for if one having need receives, he is guiltless; but he who receives without having need, shall pay the penalty: why he received; and for what; and, coming into confinement18 he shall be examined concerning the things he has done; and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last penny.19

Μακάριος ὁ διδοὺς κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν· ἀθῷος γάρ ἐστιν. Οὐαὶ τῷ λαμβάνοντι· εἰ μὲν γὰρ χρείαν ἔχων λαμβάνει τις, ἀθῷος ἔσται· ὁ δὲ μὴ χρείαν ἔχων δώσει δίκην, ἵνα τί ἔλαβε καὶ εἰς τί· ἐν συνοχῇ δὲ γενόμενος ἐξετασθήσεται περὶ ὧν ἔπραξε καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσεται ἐκεῖθεν, μέχρις οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.
6. And also concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give. 1.6 Ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τούτου δὲ εἴρηται·Ἱδρωσάτω ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη σου εἰς τὰς χεῖράς σου, μέχρις ἂν γνῷς, τίνι δῷς.

The Second Commandment: Gross Sin Forbidden.

1 AND the second commandment of the Teaching: 2. You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery,22 you shall not commit pederasty [lit. corrupt a youth],23 you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal,24 2.1 Δευτέρα δὲ ἐντολὴ τῆς διδαχῆς·] 2.2 οὐ φονεύσεις, οὐ μοιχεύσεις, οὐ παιδοφθορήσεις, οὐ πορνεύσεις, οὐ κλέψεις,

you shall not practise magic,
   you shall not practise witchcraft,

you shall not murder a child by abortion
   nor kill that which is begotten.

οὐ μαγεύσεις,
   οὐ φαρμακεύσεις,

οὐ φονεύσεις τέκνον ἐν φθορᾷ
   οὐδὲ γεννηθὲν ἀποκτενεῖς,

You shall not covet the things of your neighbour,26 3. you shall not forswear yourself,27 you shall not bear false witness,28 you shall not speak, evil, you shall bear no grudge.29 οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὰ τοῦ πλησίον. 2.3 Οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις, οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις, οὐ κακολογήσεις, οὐ μνησικακήσεις.





The Letter of Barnabas (c. 100)

Engl: Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume I (pp. 137-149). Greek:
Épître de Barnabe (Cerf, Paris 1971).



The Office of Readings,Wed. of the 18th Week in O.T.

The Lit of the H, vol.4, pp. 71-72



 1) The way of light, then, is {this}: If any one desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works.

2) The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following: [...]

19.1αἩ οὖν ὁδὸς τοῦ φωτός ἐστιν αὕτη–ἐάν τις θέλων ὁδὸν ὁδεύειν ἐπὶ τὸν ὡρισμένον τόπον, σπεύσῃ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ. 19.1βἜστιν οὖν ἡ δοθεῖσα ἡμῖν γνῶσις τοῦ περιπατεῖν ἐν αὐτῇ τοιαύτη·

1) You shall not commit fornication: you shall not commit adultery: you shall not be a corrupter of youth.

2) You shall not let the word of God issue from your lips with any kind of impurity.247

3) You shall not accept persons when you reprovest any one for transgression.

4) You shall be meek: you shall be peaceable. You shall tremble at the words which you hearest.248

5) You shall not [harbor] memory of evil against your brother.

19.4α Οὐ πορνεύσεις, οὐ μοιχεύσεις, οὐ παιδοφθορήσεις.

19.4β Οὐ μή σου ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξέλθῃ ἐν ἀκαθαρσίᾳ τινῶν.

19.4ξ Οὐ λήμψῃ πρόσωπον ἐλέγξαι τινὰ ἐπὶ παραπτώματι.

19.4δἜσῃ πραΰς, ἔσῃ ἡσύχιος, ἔσῃ τρέμων τοὺς λόγους οὓς ἤκουσας.

19.4ε Οὐ μὴ μνησικακήσεις τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου.

1) You shall not be of [divided] mind249 as to whether a thing shall be or not.

2) You shall not take the name250 of the Lord in vain.

3) You shall love your neighbour more than thine own soul.251

19.5α Οὐ μὴ διψυχήσῃς πότερον ἔσται ἢ οὔ.

19.5β Οὐ μὴ λάβῃς ἐπὶ ματαίῳ τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου.

19.5ξἈγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου.


4) You SHALL not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalL you destroy it after it is born.

19.5δ Οὐ φονεύσεις τέκνον ἐν φθορᾷ, οὐδὲ πάλιν γεννηθὲν ἀνελεῖς.

5) You shall not withdraw your hand from your son, or from your daughter, but from their infancy you shall teach them the fear of the Lord.252 [...]

19.5ε Οὐ μὴ ἄρῃς τὴν χεῖρά σου ἀπὸ τοῦ υἱοῦ σου ἢ ἀπὸ τῆς θυγατρός σου, ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ νεότητος διδάξεις φόβον κυρίου.

This is the way of light.269






20. 1) But the way of darkness270 is crooked, and full of cursing;

2) for it is the way of eternal271 death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, [namely]:

3) idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression,272 deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice,273 want of the fear of God.

20.1αἩ δὲ τοῦ μέλανος ὁδός ἐστιν σκολιὰ καὶ κατάρας μεστή.

20.1βὍλως γάρ ἐστιν ὁδὸς θανάτου αἰωνίου μετὰ τιμωρίας, ἐν ᾗ ἐστὶν τὰ ἀπολλύντα τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτῶν·

20.1ξ εἰδωλολατρεία, θρασύτης, ὕψος δυνάμεως, ὑπόκρισις, διπλοκαρδία, μοιχεία, φόνος, ἁρπαγή, ὑπερηφανία, παράβασις, δόλος, κακία, αὐθάδεια, φαρμακεία, μαγεία, πλεονεξία, ἀφοβία θεοῦ.

1) [In this way, too, ] are those who persecute the good,

2) those who hate truth, those who love falsehood,

3) those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to that which is good,

4) those who attend not with just judgment to the widow and orphan,

5) those who watch not to the fear of God, [but incline] to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off;

6) persons who love vanity, follow after a reward,

20.2α Διῶκται τῶν ἀγαθῶν,

20.2β μισοῦντες ἀλήθειαν, ἀγαπῶντες ψουῦδος,

20.2ξ οὐ γινώσκοντες μισθὸν δικαιοσύνης, οὐ κολλώμενοι ἀγαθῷ,

20.2δ οὐ κρίσει δικαίᾳ, χήρᾳ καὶ ὀρφανῷ οὐ προσέχοντες,

20.2ε ἀγρυπνοῦντες οὐκ εἰς φόβον θεοῦ, ἀλλ' ἐπὶ τὸ πονηρόν – ὧν μακρὰν καὶ πόρρω πραΰτης καὶ ὑπομονή –

20.2φ ἀγαπῶντες μάταια, διώκοντες ἀνταπόδομα,


7) pity not the needy, labour not in aid of him who is overcome with toil;

8) who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Him that made them,

9) who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of God;

10) who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted,

11) who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.

20.2γ οὐκ ἐλεοῦντες πτωχόν, οὐ πονοῦντες ἐπὶ καταπονουμένῳ,

20.2η εὐχερεῖς ἐν καταλαλιᾷ, οὐ γινώσκοντες τὸν ποιήσαντα αὐτούς,

20.2ι φονεῖς τέκνων, φθορεῖς πλάσματος θεοῦ,

20.2ς ἀποστρεφόμενοι τὸν ἐνδεόμενον, καταπονοῦντες τὸν θλιβόμενον,

20.2κ πλουσίων παράκλητοι, πενήτων ἄνομοι κριταί– πανταμάρτητοι.







COUNCIL of ELVIRA (c. 305)






Canon 68: If a catechumen conceives through adultery, and then procures the death of [her] offspring, she can be baptized only at the end of her life. LXVIII 488 Caticumina, 489 si per adulterium conceperit, et conceptum 490 <V630, f. 125vb> necaverit, placuit eam in fine 491 baptizari.





COUNCIL of ANCYRA (c. 314)






Concerning Women Who Commit Fornication and Kill their Offspring XXI  De mulieribus, qui fornicatae partus suos necant.
Canon 21: Women who prostitute themselves, and who kill the child thus begotten, or who try to destroy them when in their wombs, are by ancient law excommunicated to the end of their lives. We, however, have softened their punishment and condemned them to the various appointed degrees of penance for ten years.

XXI 282 De mulieribus, quae fornicantur et partus suos necant, sed et de his 283, quae agunt secum, ut utero 284 conceptos 285 excutiant, antiqua quidem definitio usque ad exitum vitae 286 eas ab ecclesia 287 removet 288. Humanius 289 autem nunc definimus, ut eis decem annorum tempus poenitentiae tribuatur.





1. BASIL of CÆSAREA (ca. 379)




Basil To Anfilochius, Bishop of Iconia:

She who has intentionally destroyed [the fetus] is subject to the penalty corresponding to a homicide. For us, there is no scrutinizing between the formed and unformed [fetus]; here truly justice is made not only for the unborn but also with reference to the person who is attentive only to himself/herself since so many women generally die for this very reason.

Basil -First Letter, 2



Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years' penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not.

Canon II.



 those who give the abortifacients and those who take the poisons are guilty of homicide.

- The First Canonical Epistle of Our Holy Father Basil,
Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia to Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium.





AUGUSTINE of HIPPO (354-430)









Contraception and Abortion

Fetus abortivi an resurgent.



De Nube et Concupiscentia 1.17 (15).

PL 44: 434-424

Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born. 17. .. Aliquando eo usque pervenit haec libidinosa crudelitas, vel libido crudelis, [424] ut etiam sterilitatis venena procuret; et si nihil valuerit conceptos fetus aliquo modo intra viscera exstinguat ac fundat, volendo suam prolem prius interire quam vivere; aut si in utero jam vivebat, occidi antequam nasci.







The resurrection of an aborted fetus Enchiridion 23.85; PL  49.272

Fetus abortivi an resurgent.



Enchiridion 23.85

PL  49.272

85.  Hence in the first place arises a question about abortive conceptions, which have indeed been born in the mother's womb, but not so born that they could be born again. For if we shall decide that these are to rise again, we cannot object to any conclusion that may be drawn in regard to those which are fully formed. Now who is there that is not rather disposed to think that unformed abortions perish, like seeds that have never fructified? But who will dare to deny, though he may not dare to affirm, that at the resurrection every defect in the form shall be supplied, and that thus the perfection which time would have brought shall not be wanting, any more than the blemishes which time did bring shall be present: so that the nature shall neither want anything suitable and in harmony with it that length of days would have added, nor be debased by the presence of anything of an opposite kind that length of days has added; but that what is not yet complete shall be completed, just as what has been injured shall be renewed.  Unde primo occurrit de abortivis fetibus quaestio, qui jam quidem nati sunt in uteris matrum, sed nondum ita ut jam possent renasci. Si enim resurrecturos eos dixerimus; de iis qui jam formati sunt, tolerari potest utcumque quod dicitur: informes vero abortus  quis non proclivius perire arbitretur, sicut semina quae concepta non fuerint? Sed quis negare audeat, etsi affirmare non audeat, id acturam resurrectionem, ut quiquid formae defuit impleatur? Atque ita non desit perfectio, quae accessura erat tempore, quemadmodum non erunt vitia quae accesserant tempore: ut neque in eo quod aptum et congruum dies allaturi fuerant, natura fraudetur; neque in eo quod adversum atque contrarium dies attulerant, natura turpetur; sed integretur quod nondum erat integrum, sicut instaurabitur quod fuerat vitiatum







When is the fetus alive?




Enchiridion 23.85

PL  49.272-273

85.  [...] And therefore the following question may be very carefully inquired into and discussed by learned men, though I do not know whether it is in man’s power to resolve it: At what time the infant begins to live in the womb: whether life exists in a latent form before it manifests itself in the motions of the living being. To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb, lest if they were left there dead the mother should die too, have never been alive, seems too audacious. Now, from the time that a man begins to live, from that time it is possible for him to die. And if he die, wheresoever death may overtake him, I cannot discover on what principle he can be denied an interest in the resurrection of the dead. Fetus in utero quando vivere incipiat. Ac per hoc scrupulosissime quidem inter doctissimos quaeri ac disputari potest, quod utrum ab homine inveniri possit ignoro, quando incipiat homo in utero vivere; utrum sit quaedam vita et [occulta, quae nondum motibus viventis appareat. Nam negare vixisse puerperia, quae propterea membratim exsecantur et ejiciuntur ex uteris praegnantium, ne matres quoque si mortua ibi relinquantur occidant, impudentia nimia videtur. Ex quo autem incipit homo vivere, ex illo utique jam mori potest. Mortuus vero, ubicumque illi mors potuit evenire, quomodo ad resurrectionem non pertineat mortuorum, reperire non possum. 







The Case of Monstrous Births

Monstrosi fetus quomodo resurrecturi.



Enchiridion 23.87

PL  49.272-273

We are not justified in affirming even of monstrosities, which are born and live, however quickly they may die, that they shall not rise again, nor that they shall rise again in their deformity, and not rather with an amended and perfected body. God forbid that the double limbed man who was lately born in the East, of whom an account was brought by most trustworthy brethren who had seen him,—an account which the presbyter Jerome, of blessed memory, left in writing; —God forbid, I say, that we should think that at the resurrection there shall be one man with double limbs, and not two distinct men, as would have been the case had twins been born. And so other births, which, because they have either a superfluity or a defect, or because they are very much deformed, are called monstrosities, shall at the resurrection be restored to the normal shape of man; and so each single soul shall possess its own body; and no bodies shall cohere together even though they were born in cohesion, but each separately shall possess all the members which constitute a complete human body. Neque enim et monstra quae nascuntur et vivunt, quamlibet cito moriantur, aut resurrectura negabuntur, aut ita  resurrectura credenda sunt, ac non potius correcta emendataque natura. Absit enim ut illum bimembrem, qui nuper natus est in Oriente, de quo et fratres fidelissimi quod eum viderint retulerunt, et sanctae memoriae Hieronymus presbyter scriptum reliquit absit, inquam, ut unum hominem duplicem, ac non potius duos, quod futurum fuerat, si gemini nascerentur, resurrecturos existimemus. Ita caetera quae singuli quique partus vel amplius vel minus aliquid habendo, vel quadam nimia deformitate monstra dicuntur, ad humanae naturae figuram resurrectione revocabuntur; ita ut singulae animae singula sua corpora obtineant, nullis cohaerentibus etiam quaecumque cohaerentia nata fuerant; sed seorsum sibi singulis sua membra gestantibus, quibus humani corporis completur integritas.  PL 272-273





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