Elucidations - Canonical Epistle
(The title, p. 18.)
This is a genuine epistle, all but the eleventh canon. It is addressed to an anonymous bishop; one of his suffragans, some think. I suppose, rather, he consults, as Cyprian did, the bishop of the nearest Apostolic See, and awaits his concurrence. It refers to the ravages of the Goths in the days of Gallienus (a.d. 259-267), and proves the care of the Church to maintain discipline, even in times most unfavourable to order and piety. The last canon is an explanatory addition made to elucidate the four degrees or classes of penitents. It is a very interesting document in this respect, and sheds light on the famous canonical epistles of St. Basil.