p. 601 II.
The Canons of the Blessed Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Martyr, 585 which are found in his Sermon on Penitence.
The fourth Easter from the beginning of the persecution was now come; and orders, that they who did not fall till after they had endured severe torments, and have already been “Mourners” three years, after forty days fast, are to be admitted to communion, although they have not been before received [to penance]. 586
But if they endured imprisonment only, without torments, let a year be added to their former penance.
If they fell voluntarily, without torments or imprisonments, but are come to repentance, four years are added to their former penance.
The case of them who do not repent pronounced desperate.
They that used evasion, and did not right down subscribe the abnegation, or with their own hands incense the idols, but sent a heathen to do it for them, are enjoined six months penance, though they have been pardoned by some of the Confessors.
Slaves forced by their masters to incense idols, and doing it in their masters stead, are enjoined a years penance.
The masters who forced them to it, are enjoined three years penance, as being hypocrites, and as forcing their slaves to sacrifice.
They who first fell, and afterwards recovered themselves, by professing themselves Christians, and endured torments, are forthwith admitted to communion.
That they who provoked the magistrates to persecute themselves and others are to be blamed, yet not to be denied communion.
That clergymen, who run themselves into persecution, and fell, though they did afterward recover themselves, and suffer torments, yet are not to be admitted to perform the sacred offices.
That they who prayed for them who fell after long torments, be connived at, and we pray together with them, since they lament for what they have done, with anguish and mortification. 587
That they who with money purchased their ease and freedom, are to be commended.
Nor should we accuse those who ran away, and left all, though others left behind might fare the worse for it. 588
That they who endured tortures, and afterwards, when they were deprived of speech and motion, had their hands forced into the fire, to offer unholy sacrifice, be placed in the Liturgy [i.e., in the diptychs] among the Confessors.
Wednesday is to be fasted, because then the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us. We keep the Lords Day as a day of joy, because then our Lord rose. Our tradition is, not to kneel on that day.
According to Johnson, St. Peter of Alexandria was martyred a.d. 311 in the persecution in the time of Diocletian, carried on by Maximian.601:586
In Beveridge will be found Balsamons and Zonarass notes.601:587
Johnson remarks, “The truth is, there is occasion for a critic, for the Greek is certainly corrupted.”601:588
This canon contains the legend, refuted by St. Jerome, that St. John the Baptist was taken by St. Elizabeth away from the danger of Herods edicts against the Innocents and escaped by flight, his father, Zacharias, the meanwhile, being slain between the temple and the altar.