Canons of the Synod of Nîmes

in the province of Narbonne, Gaul

394 AD

Translation by John Wijngaards

Source: Hefele-Leclercq, p.93
Canon 2. Illud aetiam a quibusdam suggestum est, ut contra apostolicam disciplinam incognito usque in hoc tempus in ministerium feminae nescio quo loco levviticum videantur adsumptae; quod quidem, quia indecens est, non admittit ecclesiastica disciplina; et contra rationem facta talis ordinatio distruatur: providendum, ne quis sibi hoc ultra praesumat . Canon 2. “It has also been suggested by some persons that, contrary to the apostolic church order, – unheard of until this time! – women have been admitted to the levitical [= diaconal] ministry I don’t know in what place. This, however, is something church order does not allow because it is indecent. And since such an ordination has been performed against reason, it should be undone. Moreover, steps should be taken to ensure no one else will anymore presume to do such a thing. ”

Comment: Some commentators have argued that ‘levitical’ here means ‘priestly’ ministry. This seems unlikely.

(1) People at the time were well aware of the Old Testament distinction between the ministry of priests, descendants of Aaron and Zadoc, and that of Levites. (2) The Church context in Gaul wtinesses a reaction against the introduction of women deacons not women priests.