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The Father William Most Collection

Council of Elvira, Canon 32

It exists in two versions; uncertain which is genuine:

1. "If someone by a grave fall has fallen into the ruin of death, it is decided he should not do penance, but rather, [should do it] with the bishop; however, when sickness compels it is necessary that a presbyter grant communion [probably means reconciliation, could be absolution for sins, or could be from excommunication] and a deacon if a priest orders him [to do it]."

2. If someone by a grave fall has fallen into the ruin of death, it is decided he should not do penance without the [approval of] the bishop, but rather, should do it with [approval of] the bishop, if sickness makes it necessary. It is not possible for priests or deacons to grant communion to such, unless the bishop orders them."

Note: Canon 36 seems iconoclastic: "It is decided that pictures should not be in the church, lest what is worshipped and adored be pictures on the walls." Canon 34 is strange: "It is decided that candles should not be lighted in the cemeteries in the daytime, for the spirits of the holy ones should not be disturbed. They who do not observe this should be kept from communion with the church." A note at the start of this council text says that it was never approved by the Church, and probably the reason is canon 36 and perhaps also canon 34.

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