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The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome was composed in approximately 215 in Rome. 
It apparently preserved older second century practices which were in danger of falling to 
disuse or innovation. Hippolytus, a presbyter of the Roman Church at the time, was so 
distraught over the innovating practices of his former friends, the Pope Zephyrinus and his 
successor Callistus, that he set himself up as history's first antipope! He continued in this 
role through the rules of Callistus successors, Urban and Pontius, and in the time of Pope 
Pontianus, both he and Pontianus were exiled to Sardinia, from all accounts an extraordinarily 
unhealthy place, where they were forced to work the mines. Shortly afterward, in 235, both 
died there. Sometime before his death, Hippolytus was reconciled to the Roman Bishop. The 
two were martyrs, and their bodies were both brought back to Rome, where they were 
honorably buried.

Sadly most of Hippolytus' works are lost to us. The Apostolic Tradition itself is partly 
preserved in a Latin palmpsest, and in several oriental versions. The Greek original is wholly 
lost, but for fragments in the heavily edited excerpts in The Apostolic Constitutions.

My translation here is based on the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources 
Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the 
Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr
. London: Alban Press, 1992). 
My version (which it certainly is) is intended as a simplified one for ease of reading, directed 
primarily towards the non-expert. It's a simple kindness, and I hope that you, dear reader, will 
enjoy it.

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus

1 We have set forth as was necessary that part of the discourse which relates to the 
spiritual gifts, all that God, right from the beginning, granted to people according to his will, 
bringing back to himself this image which had gone astray.

2Now, driven by love towards all the saints, we have arrived at the essence of the tradition 
which is proper for the Churches. 3This is so that those who are well informed may keep the 
tradition which has lasted until now, according to the explanation we give of it, and so that 
others by taking note of it may be strengthened 4(against the fall or error which has recently 
occurred because of ignorance and ignorant people), 5with the Holy Spirit conferring perfect 
grace on those who have a correct faith, and so that they will know that those who are at the 
head of the Church must teach and guard all these things.
2 He who is ordained as a bishop, being chosen by all the people, must be irreproachable. 
When his name is announced and approved, the people will gather on the Lord's day with the 
council of elders and the bishops who are present. 3With the assent of all, the bishops will place 
their hands upon him, with the council of elders standing by, quietly. 4Everyone will keep silent, 
praying in their hearts for the descent of the Spirit. 5After this, one of the bishops present, at the 
request of all, shall lay his hand upon him who is being ordained bishop, and pray, saying,

3 God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Father of mercies and God of all consolation,
you who live in the highest, but regard the lowest,a
you who know all things before they are,
2you who gave the rules of the Church through the word of your grace,
who predestined from the beginning the race of the righteous through Abraham,
who instituted princes and priests,
and did not leave your sanctuary without a minister;
who from the beginning of the world has been pleased
to be glorified by those whom you have chosen,
3pour out upon him the power which is from you, the princely Spirit,
which you gave to your beloved Sonb Jesus Christ,
which he gave to your holy apostles,
who founded the Church in every place as your sanctuary,
for the glory and endless praise of your name.
4Grant, Father who knows the heart,
to your servant whom you chose for the episcopate, that he will feed your holy flock,
that he will wear your high priesthood without reproach,
serving night and day, incessantly making your face favorable,
and offering the gifts of your holy church;
5in the spirit of high priesthood having the power to forgive sins according to your command;
to assign lots according to your command;
to loose any bond according to the authority which you gave to the apostles;
to please you in mildness and a pure heart, offering to you a sweet scent,
6through your son Jesus Christ,
through whom to you be glory, power, and honor,
Father and Son,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the Holy Church,
now and throughout the ages of the ages.

a Lit., the humble.
b Or servant. The Gk and Lat words mean both. In this phrase throughout the work as here.

4When he has been made bishop, everyone shall give him the kiss of peace, and salute him 
respectfully, for he has been made worthy of this. 2Then the deacons shall present the oblation 
to him, and he shall lay his hand upon it, and give thanks, with the entire council of elders, saying:
3The Lord be with you.
And all reply:
And with your spirit.
The bishop says:
Lift up your hearts.
The people respond:
We have them with the Lord.
The bishop says:
Let us give thanks to the Lord.
The people respond:
It is proper and just.
The bishop then continues:
4We give thanks to you God,
through your beloved son Jesus Christ,
whom you sent to us in former timesa
as Savior, Redeemer, and Messenger of your Will,
5who is your inseparable Word,
through whom you made all,
and in whom you were well-pleased,
6whom you sent from heaven into the womb of a virgin,
who, being conceived within her, was made flesh,
and appeared as your Son,
born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin.
7It is he who, fulfilling your will
and acquiring for you a holy people,
extended his hands in suffering,
in order to liberate from sufferings
those who believe in you.
8Who, when he was deliveredb to voluntary suffering,
in order to dissolve death,
and break the chains of the devil,
and tread down hell,
and bring the just to the light,
and set the limit,
and manifest the resurrection,
9taking the bread, and giving thanks to you, said,
"Take, eat, for this is my body which is broken for you."
Likewise the chalice, saying,
This is my blood which is shed for you.
10Whenever you do this, do this (in) memory of me.

11Therefore, remembering his death and resurrection,
we offer to you the bread and the chalice,
giving thanks to you, who has made us worthy
to stand before you and to serve as your priests.
12And we pray that you would send your Holy Spirit
to the oblation of your Holy Church.
In their gathering together,
give to all those who partake of your holy mysteries the fullness of the Holy Spirit,
toward the strengthening of the faith in truth,
13that we may praise you and glorify you,
through your son Jesus Christ,
through whom to you be glory and honor,
Father and Son,
with the Holy Spirit,
in your Holy Church,
now and throughout the ages of the ages.

a Or the last times.
b Or betrayed.

5 If someone makes an offering of oil, the bishop shall give thanks in the same manner as for 
the oblation of the bread and wine. He does not give thanks with the same words, but quite 
similar, saying, 2"Sanctify this oil, God, as you give holiness to all who are anointed and receive 
it, as you anointed kings, priests, and prophets, so that it may give strength to all who taste it, 
and health to all who use it."

6 Likewise, if someone makes an offering of cheese and olives, the bishop shall say, 
"Sanctify this brought-together milk, just as you also bring us together in your love. 3Let this 
fruit not leave your sweetness, this olive which is a symbol of your abundance, which you made 
to flow from the tree, for life to those who hope in you."
4In every blessing should be said:
To you be glory,
Father and Son
with the Holy Spirit,
in your Holy Church,
now and forever,
and throughout all the ages of the ages.

7 When an elder is ordained, the bishop places his hand upon his head, along with the other 
elders, and says according to that which was said above for the bishop, praying and saying:
2God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
look upon your servant here,
and impart the spirit of grace and the wisdom of eldersa,
that he may help and guide your people with a pure heart,
3just as you looked upon your chosen people,
and commanded Moses to choose elders,
whom you filled with your spirit
which you gave to your attendant.

4Now, Lord, unceasingly preserving in us the spirit of your grace,
make us worthy, so that being filled
we may minister to you in singlenessb of heart,
praising you,
5through your son Christ Jesus,
through whom to you be glory and might,
Father and Son
with the Holy Spirit,
in your Holy Church,
now and throughout the ages of the ages.

a Lit., advice of elders.
b Or simplicity.

8 When one ordains a deacon, he is chosen according to what has been said above, with 
only the bishop laying on his hand in the same manner. In the ordination of a deacon, only the 
bishop lays on his hand, 2because the deacon is not ordained to the priesthood, but to the 
service of the bishop, to do that which he commands. 3For he is not part of the council of the 
clergy, but acts as a manager, and reports to the bishop what is necessary. 4He does not 
receive the spirit common to the elders, which the elders share, but that which is entrusted to 
him under the bishop's authority. 5This is why only the bishop makes a deacon. 6Upon the 
elders, the other elders place their hands because of a common spirit and similar duty. 7Indeed, 
the elder has only the authority to receive this, but he has no authority to give it. 8Therefore he 
does not ordain to the clergy. Upon the ordination of the elder he seals; the bishop ordains.
9The bishop says this over the deacon:
10O God, you who have created all
and put it in order by your Word,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
whom you sent to serve by your will,
and to manifest to us your desire,
11give the Holy Spirit of grace and earnestness and diligence to this your servant,
whom you have chosen to serve your church
and to offer up in holiness in your sanctuary
that which is offered from the inheritance of your high priests,
so that serving without reproach and in purity, he may obtain a higher degree,
and that he may praise you and glorify you,
12through your son Jesus Christ our Lord,
through whom to you be glory, and power, and praise,
with the Holy Spirit,
now and always, and throughout the ages of the ages.

9 If a confessor has been placed in chains for the Name of the Lord, hands are not laid 
upon him for the office of deacon or elder. He has the honor of the office of an elder through 
his confession. If he is instituted as a bishop, then hands will be laid upon him.

2If there is a confessor who was neither led before an authority, nor punished with bonds, nor 
placed in prison, nor condemned to any other penalty, but was only incidentally derided 
because of the Name of our Lord, and punished with domestic confinement even though he 
confessed, for whatever office he is worthy of hands shall be placed on him.

3The bishop shall give thanks according to all that was said above. 4It is not at all necessary 
that he prays with the very same words given above, as though by an effort of memory giving 
thanks to God. Each shall pray whatever is according to his ability. 5If someone has the ability 
to pray a lengthy and solemn prayer, that is well. If someone else, in praying, offers a short 
prayer, this is not to be prevented. That prayer must only be correct in orthodoxy.

10 When a widow is appointed, she is not ordained, but is chosen by name. 2If her 
husband has been dead a long time, she is appointed. 3If it has not been a long time since 
her husband died, she may not be trusted. If, however, she is old, let her be tested for a 
time. For often the passions grow old with those who give them a place in themselves. 4The 
widow is appointed by word alone, and then may join the rest of the widows. Do not lay 
hands upon her, for she does not offer the oblation, nor does she have a liturgical duty. 
Ordination is for the clergy because of liturgical duty. The widow is appointed because 
of prayer, which is a duty for all.

11 The reader is appointed when the bishop gives the book to him. He does not have 
hands laid upon him.

12 Hands are not laid on a virgin, for a decision alone makes her a virgin.

13 Hands are not laid on the sub-deacon. He is chosen by name to assist the deacon.

14 If someone among the laity is seen to have received a gift of healing by revelation, 
hands are not laid upon such a one, for the matter is obvious.

15 Those who are newly brought forward to hear the Word shall first be brought 
before the teachers at the house, before all the people enter. 2Then they will be questioned 
concerning the reason that they have come forward to the faith. Those who bring them will 
bear witness concerning them as to whether they are able to hear. 3They shall be questioned 
concerning their life and occupation, marriage status, and whether they are slave or free. 
If they are the slaves of any of the faithful, and if their masters permit them, they may hear 
the Word. If their masters do not bear witness that they are good, let them be rejected. 
If their masters are pagans, teach them to please their masters, so that there will be no 

6If a man has a wife, or a woman has a husband, let them be taught to be content, the 
husband with his wife, and the wife with her husband. 7If there is a man who does not live 
with a woman, let him be taught not to fornicate, but to either take a wife according to the 
law, or to remain as is.

8If there is someone who has a demon, such a one shall not hear the Word of the teacher 
until purified.

16 They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are 
brought forward for instruction. 2If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall 
cease or shall be rejected. 3If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to 
make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. 4If someone is an actor or does 
shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 5If someone teaches 
children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let 
him be permitted. 6A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who 
goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7If someone is a gladiator, or one 
who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast 
shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he 
shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, 
he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9A military man in authority must not execute men. If 
he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall 
be rejected. 10If someone is a military governor,a or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, 
he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a 
soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. 12The prostitute, the wanton man, the one 
who castrates himself, or one who does that which may not be mentioned, are to be rejected, 
for they are impure. 13A magus shall not even be brought forward for consideration. 14An 
enchanter, or astrologer, or diviner, or interpreter of dreamsb, or a charlatanc, or one who 
makes amulets, either they shall cease or they shall be rejected. 15If someone's concubine is 
a slave, as long as she has raised her children and has clung only to him, let her hear. 
Otherwise, she shall be rejected. 16The man who has a concubine must cease and take a wife 
according to the law. If he will not, he shall be rejected.

a Lit. has the authority of swords
b Other ancient authorities add or one who clips the fringes of garments,
c Lit., one who stirs up the people

17 Catechumens will hear the word for three years. 2Yet if someone is earnesta and 
perseveres well in the matter, it is not the time that is judged, but the conduct.

a Or eager

18 When the teacher finishes his instruction, the catechumens will pray by themselves, 
separate from the faithful. 2The women will also pray in another place in the church, by 
themselves, whether faithful women or catechumen women. 3After the catechumens have 
finished praying, they do not give the kiss of peace, for their kiss is not yet pure. 4But the 
faithful shall greet one another with a kiss, men with men, and women with women. Men 
must not greet women with a kiss.

5All the women should cover their heads with a pallium, and not simply with a piece of 
linen, which is not a proper veil.

19 After the prayer, the teacher shall lay hands upon the catechumens, pray, and 
dismiss them. Whether such is one of the laypeople or of the clergy, let him do so.

2If any catechumens are apprehended because of the Name of the Lord, let them not be 
double-hearted because of martyrdom. If they may suffer violence and be executed with 
their sins not removed, they will be justified, for they have received baptism in their own 

20 When they are chosen who are to receive baptism, let their lives be examined, 
whether they have lived honorably while catechumens, whether they honored the widows, 
whether they visited the sick, and whether they have done every good work.. 2If those who 
bring them forward bear witness for them that they have done so, then let them hear the Gospel.

3From the time at which they are set apart, place hands upon them daily so that they are 
exorcised. When the day approaches on which they are to be baptized, let the bishop 
exorcise each one of them, so that he will be certain whether each has been purified. 
If there are any who are not purified, they shall be set apart. They have not heard the 
Word in faith, for the foreign spirit remained with each of them.

5Let those who are to be baptized be instructed that they bathe and wash on the fifth day 
of the week. 6If a woman is in the manner of women, let her be set aparta and receive 
baptism another day.

7Those who are to receive baptism shall fast on the Preparation of the Sabbathb. On the 
Sabbathc, those who are to receive baptism shall all gather together in one place chosen 
according to the will of the bishop. They shall be commanded to pray and kneeld. 8Then, 
laying his hand on them, he will exorcise every foreign spirit, so that they flee from them and 
never return to them. When he has finished exorcising them, he shall breathe on their faces 
and seale their foreheads, ears and noses. Then he shall raise them up.

9They shall all keep vigil all night, reading and instructing them.

10Those who are to be baptized are not to bring any vessel, only that which each brings 
for the eucharist. It is indeed proper that each bring the oblation in the same hour.

a Lit., isolated.
b Friday
c Saturday
d Lit., bend the knee.
e With the sign of the cross.

21 At the hour in which the cock crows, they shall first pray over the water. 2When 
they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, the water of a spring 
or a flowing body of water. 3Then they shall take off all their clothes. 4The children shall be 
baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there 
are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or 
someone else from their family. 5After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, 
after they have unbound their hair, and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any 
foreign object with themselves down into the water.

6At the time determined for baptism, the bishop shall give thanks over some oil, which he 
puts in a vessel. It is called the Oil of Thanksgiving. 7He shall take some more oil and 
exorcise it. It is called the Oil of Exorcism. 8A deacon shall hold the Oil of Exorcism and 
stand on the left. Another deacon shall hold the Oil of Thanksgiving and stand on the right.

9When the elder takes hold of each of them who are to receive baptism, he shall tell each 
of them to renounce, saying, "I renounce you Satan, all your servicea, and all your works." 
After he has said this, he shall anoint each with the Oil of Exorcism, saying, "Let every 
evil spirit depart from you." 11Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on 
nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, 
likewise, will go down with them into the water. 12When each of them to be baptized has 
gone down into the water, the one baptizing shall lay hands on each of them, asking, "Do 
you believe in God the Father Almighty?" 13And the one being baptized shall answer, "I 
believe." 14He shall then baptize each of them once, laying his hand upon each of their 
heads. 15Then he shall ask, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was 
born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and 
died, and rose on the third day living from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat 
down at the right hand of the Father, the one coming to judge the living and the dead?" 
When each has answered, "I believe," he shall baptize a second time. 17Then he shall 
ask, "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Church and the resurrection of the 
flesh?" 18Then each being baptized shall answer, "I believe." And thus let him baptize the 
third time.

19Afterward, when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the 
elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, "I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus 
Christ." 20Then, drying themselves, they shall dress and afterwards gather in the church.

21The bishop will then lay his hand upon them, invoking, saying,
"Lord God, you who have made these worthy
of the removal of sins through the bath of regeneration,
make them worthy to be filled with your Holy Spirit,
grant to them your grace,
that they might serve you according to your will,
for to you is the glory,
Father and Son
with the Holy Spirit,
in the Holy Church,
now and throughout the ages of the ages.

22After this he pours the oil into his hand, and laying his hand on each of their heads, says,
"I anoint you with holy oil
in God the Father Almighty,
and Christ Jesus,
and the Holy Spirit."

23Then, after sealingb each of them on the forehead, he shall give them the kiss of peace 
and say,
"The Lord be with you."
And the one who has been baptized shall say,
"And with your spirit."
24So shall he do to each one.

25From then on they will pray together will all the people. Prior to this they may not pray 
with the faithful until they have completed all. 26After they pray, let them give the kiss 
of peace.

27Then the deacons shall immediately bring the oblation. The bishop shall bless the bread, 
which is the symbol of the Body of Christ; and the bowl of mixed winec, which is the 
symbol of the Blood which has been shed for all who believe in him; 28and the milk and 
honey mixed together, in fulfillment of the promise made to the fathers, in which he said, 
"a land flowing with milk and honey," which Christ indeed gave, his Flesh, through which 
those who believe are nourished like little children, by the sweetness of his Word, 
softening the bitter heart; 29and water also for an oblation, as a sign of the baptism, so 
that the inner person, which is psychic, may also receive the same as the body. 30The 
bishop shall give an explanation of all these things to those who are receiving.

31Breaking the bread, distributing a piece to each, he shall say,
"The Bread of Heaven in Jesus Christ."
32And the one who receives shall answer,

33The elders, and the deacons if there are not enough, shall hold the cups and stand 
together in good order and with reverence: first the one who holds the water, second the 
one who holds the milk, and third the one who holds the wine. 34They who partake shall 
taste of each three times. And he who gives shall say,
"In God the Father Almighty."
The one who receives shall respond,
35The one giving shall say,
"And in the Lord Jesus Christ."
The one who receives shall respond,
36The one giving shall say,
"And in the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Church."
And the one who receives shall respond,
37It shall be done so for each.

38When these things are done, they shall be zealous to do good works, and to please 
God, living honorably, devoting themselves to the church, doing the things which they were 
taught, and advancing in piety.

39We have delivered these things to you only briefly concerning baptism and the oblation 
because you have already been instructed concerning the resurrection of the flesh and the 
rest according to what is written. 40If there is anything else which needs to be told, the bishop 
shall tell it privatelyd to those who receive baptism. None but the faithful may know, and 
even them only after receiving baptism. This is the white stone about which John said, "A 
new name is written on it, which no one knows except the one who received the stone."

a Other ancient authorities read servants.
b That is, making the sign of the cross.
c That is, wine mixed with water.
d Lit., in quiet

22 On the first day of the week the bishop, if possible, shall deliver the oblation to all 
the people with his own hand, while the deacons break the bread. 2When the deacon 
brings it to the elder, the deacon shall present his platter, and the elder shall take it himself 
and distribute it to the people by his own hand. 3Other days they will receive the oblation 
according to the command of the bishop.

23 Widows and virgins will fast often and pray for the Church. The elders will fast 
when they want to, as is the same for the laypeople. 2The bishop may not fast except 
when all the people fast. 3For often someone will bring an offering, and it cannot be 
rejected. For whenever the bishop breaks the bread, he must partake of it, and eat it with 
all who are there.

24 The deacon shall be diligent in giving the oblation to the sick, if there is no elder. 
When he has been given as much as is necessary, receiving according to how much 
needs to be given out, he shall give thanks, and they shall eat there.

25 When the evening has arrived, with the bishop present the deacon shall bring in a 
lamp. 2The bishop, standing in the midst of all the faithful present, shall give thanks. But he 
shall first greet all by saying,
"The Lord be with you."
3And all the people shall respond,
"And with your spirit."
4Then the bishop shall say,
"Let us give thanks to the Lord."
5And the people shall respond,
"It is proper and just.
Greatness and exaltation and glory are due to him."

6But he shall not say,
"Lift up your hearts,"
because that is said for the oblation.

7And he shall pray thus, saying,
"We give thanks to you, O God,
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
because you have enlightened us by revealing the incorruptible light.
8Therefore, having finished the length of a day,
and arriving at the beginning of the night,
and having been satisfied with the light of the day
which you created for our satisfaction,
and since we now do not lack a light for the evening through your grace,
we sanctify you and glorify you,
9through your only Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom to you with him be glory and might and honor
with the Holy Spirit,
now and always, and throughout the ages of the ages.

10Then all shall say,

11After the meal they shall get up and pray, and the children shall sing songs, along with 
the virgins.

12Afterwards, the deacon holding the mixed cup of the oblation shall say a psalm from 
among those in which is written Alleluia. 13Then, if the elder orders it, more from the same 
psalms. After this, the bishop shall offer the cup, saying one of those psalms appropriate to 
the cup, all of which should include Alleluia. 14When the psalms are recited, all shall say, 
"Alleluia," which means, "We praise he who is God. Glory and praise to him who created 
all the world by word alone!" 15When the psalm is completed, he shall bless the cup and 
give of the pieces of bread to all the faithful ones.

26 When they dine, the faithful present shall take from the hand of the bishop a small 
piece of bread before taking their own bread, because it is blessed. Yet it is not the 
eucharist, like the body of the Lord. 2Before they all drink, they shall take their cups and 
give thanks for them. Thus they will eat and drink in purity. 3However, give the 
catechumens exorcised bread and cups.

27 The catechumen may not take part ina the Lord's Supper. 2At every meal, those who 
eat shall remember him who invited them, because he requested that they might come 
under his roof.

a Lit. recline at

28 Eat and drink in moderation. Do not drink to drunkenness, so that no one will 
mock you and so that he who invited you will not be grieved by your disorderly conduct. 
It is better that he continue to pray to be made worthy so that the saints may come to him. 
For indeed, as he said, "You are the salt of the earth." 2If you are all assembled and are 
offered a dinner gifta, accept it.

3When you eat, eat sufficiently and not to excess, so that the host may have some left that 
he can then send to someone as leftovers of the saints, so that the one to whom it is sent 
may rejoice.

4Let the guests eat in silence, without arguing, saying only what the bishop allows. If 
someone asks a question, it shall be answered. When the bishop answers, all shall remain 
silent, praising him modestly, until someone else asks a question.
5And if, in the absence of the bishop, the faithful attend the meal in the presence of an elder 
or a deacon, they shall eat in the same way, honorably. Everyone shall be careful to receive 
the blessed bread and from the hand of the elder or deacon. Similarly, the catechumen will 
still receive exorcised.

6If laypeople only are gathered, they shall behave modestly, for a layperson cannot make 
the blessed bread.

a Gk apophorêton

29 Each shall eat in the Name of the Lord. For this is pleasing to God that we should 
show ourselves as zealots even among the pagans, all of us being unified and sober.

30 Whenever someone wishes to invite older widows to a meal, he shall send them 
away before sunset. 2If he cannot receive them in his own home due to his ecclesiastical 
office, he shall give them food and wine and send them away. Then they may eat it at 
home as they please.

31 All shall be diligent to offer to the bishop the firstfruits of the fruits of the first harvest.
2He shall bless them, saying,
3"We give thanks to you, God,
and offer to you the firstfruits of the fruits
which you have given to us as food,
having nourished them by your word,
commanding the earth to bring forth all kinds of fruit
for the pleasure and nourishment of men and all animals.
4For all this we praise you, God,
in which you have been our benefactor,
adorning all creation for us with various fruits,
5through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
through whom to you be glory
throughout the ages of the ages.

32 These are the fruits which he shall bless: the grape, fig, pomegranate, olive, pear, 
apple, blackberry, peach, cherry, almond, and plum. But not the pumpkin, melon, 
cucumber, onion, garlic, or any other vegetable.

2Sometimes flowers also are offered. The rose and lily may be offered, but no other 

3With all foods, give thanks to the Holy God, eating them to his glory.

33 No one must eat anything on Paschaa before the oblation has been made, for with 
one who acts thus, it will not be counted as a fast. 2If a woman is pregnant, or if someone 
is sick and cannot fast for two days, let them fast on Saturday, taking bread and water if 
necessary. 3If are at sea or for any other necessity did not know the day, when they have 
learned it they shall fast after Pentecost. 4For the Passover which we celebrate is not a 
type, for the type has indeed passed. For this reason it no longer happens in the second 
month, and one should fast when one has learned the truth.

a Or Easter

34 Each of the deacons and sub-deacons shall serve the bishop. The bishop shall be 
told who are the sick, so that if it seems good to him, he may visit them. For the sick are 
greatly comforted that the high priest remembers them.

35 The faithful, as soon as they wake up and are risen, before beginning work, shall 
pray to God, and then go to their work. 2But if there is any instruction in the Word, they 
shall give this preference and go there to hear the Word of God for the strengthening of 
their souls. They shall be zealous to go to the church, where the Spirit flourishes.

36 The faithful shall be careful to partake of the eucharist before eating anything else. 
For if they eat with faith, even though some deadly poison is given to them, after this it will 
not be able to harm them.

37 All shall be careful so that no unbeliever tastes of the eucharist, nor a mouse or 
other animal, nor that any of it falls and is lost. For it is the Body of Christ, to be eaten by 
those who believe, and not to be scorned.

38 Having blessed the cup in the Name of God, you received it as the antitype of the 
Blood of Christ. 2Therefore do not spill from it, for some foreign spirit to lick it up because 
you despised it. You will become as one who scorns the Blood, the price with which you 
have been bought.

39 The deacons and elders shall meet daily at the place which the bishop appoints for 
them. The deacons especially should not fail to meet every day, except when illness 
prevents them. 2When all have assembled, they shall teach all those who are in the 
assemblya. Then, after having prayed, each one shall go to the work assigned to him.

a Or church

40 Do not put a high price on burying people in the cemeteries, for they are for all the 
poor. However, they shall pay the wages of a workman to whoever digs the hole, and the 
price of the bricks. 2The bishop will provide for the caretaker there from what they offer at 
the assembliesa, so that there is no charge for those who come to the place.

a Or churches

41 Let every faithful man and every faithful woman , when they rise from sleep at dawn, 
before they undertake any work, wash their hands and pray to God. Then they may go to 
work. 2But if there is some instruction in the Word, they shall go there, considering that it is 
God whom they hear in the one instructing. For having prayed in the assembly,t they will be 
able to avoid all the evils of the day. The pious should consider it a great wrong if they do 
not go to the place in which they give instruction, especially if they know how to read.

3If there is a teacher there, let no one be late in arriving at the assemblya where they give 
instruction. Then it shall be given to whoever speaks to utter things which are useful to each 
one, and you will hear things you did not know, and you will benefit from the things which the 
Holy Spirit will give to you through the one who instructs. In this way, your faith will be 
strengthened by what you will have heard. He will also tell you there what you ought to do 
at home. Therefore, let each one be certain to go to the assemblya, to the place where the 
Holy Spirit flourishes.

4If there is a day when there is no instruction, let each one at home take a holy book and 
read enough of it to gain an advantage from it.

5If you are at home, pray at the third hour and praise God. If you are elsewhere at that 
time, pray in your heart to God. 6For in this hour Christ was seen nailed to the wood. And 
thus in the Old Testament the Law instructed that the shewbread be offered at the third 
hour as a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. And the sacrifice of the irrationalb lamb 
was a symbol of the perfect Lamb. For Christ is the Shepherd, and he is also the bread 
which descended from heaven.

7Pray also at the sixth hour. Because when Christ was attached to the wood of the cross, 
the daylight ceased and became darkness. Thus you should pray a powerful prayer at this 
hour, imitating the cry of him who prayed and all creation was made dark for the 
unbelieving Jews.

8Pray also at the ninth hour a great prayer with great praise, imitating the souls of the 
righteous who do not lie, who glorify God who remembered his saints and sent his Word 
to them to enlighten them. 9For in that hour Christ was pierced in his side, pouring out 
water and blood, and the rest of the time of the day, he gave light until evening. This way 
he made the dawn of another day at the beginning of his sleep, fulfilling the type of his 

10Pray also before your body rests on your bed.

11Around midnight rise and wash your hands with water and pray. If you are married, 
pray together. 12But if your spousec is not yet baptized, go into another room to pray, 
and then return to bed. Do not hesitate to pray, for one who has been joined in marital 
relations is not impure. Those who have bathed have no need to wash again, for they are 
pure. 13By catching your breath in your hand and signingd yourself with the moisture of 
your breath, your body is purified, even to the feet. For the gift of the Spirit and the 
outpouring of the baptism, proceeding from the heart of the believer as though from a 
fountain, purifies the one who has believed. 15Thus it is necessary to pray at this hour.

For those elders who handed down the tradition to us taught us that in this hour every 
creature hushes for a brief moment to praise the Lord. Stars and trees and waters stand 
still for an instant. All the host of angels serving him, together with the souls of the 
righteous, praise God. 16This is why it is important that all those who believe make certain 
to pray at that hour. Testifying to this, the Lord says thus, "Behold, a cry was made at 
midnight, saying, 'Behold the bridegroom is coming! Arise to meet him!'" And he adds, 
saying, "Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the hour is coming."

17Likewise, at the hour of the cock-crow, rise and pray. Because at this hour, with the 
cock-crow, the children of Israel refused Christ, who we know through faith, hoping daily 
in the hope of eternal light in the resurrection of the dead.

18With these things, all you faithful, if you do and remember them, instructing one another, 
and encouraging the catechumens, you will not be able to be tempted or to perish, having 
Christ always in your thoughts.

a Or church
b Gk alogos
c Lat and Gk wife
d That is, making the sign of the cross.

42 If you are tempted, seala your foreheads reverently. For this is the Sign of the 
Passion, displayed and made manifest against the devil, provided that you do it with faith, 
not to be seen by men, but by presenting it with skill like a shield.

2Because the Adversary, when he sees the strength of the heart and when he sees the inner 
man which is animated by the Word show, formed on the exterior, the interior image of the 
Word, he is made to flee by the Spirit which is in you. 3This is symbolized by the Paschal 
lamb which was sacrificed, the blood of which Moses sprinkled on the threshold, and 
smeared on the doorposts. He told us of the faith which is now in us, which was given to 
us through the perfect Lamb.

4By sealinga the forehead and eyes with the hand, we turn aside the one who is seeking 
to destroy us.

a That is, making the sign of the cross.

43 Thus, if these things are heard with grace and correct faith, they bestow edification 
on the Church and eternal life on the believers. 2I counsel that these things be observed by 
all with good understanding. For if all who hear the apostolic tradition follow and keep it, 
no heretic will be able to introduce error, nor will any other person at all. 3It is in this 
manner that the many heresies have grown, for those who were leaders did not wish to 
inform themselves of the opinion of the apostles, but did what they wanted according to 
their own pleasure, and not what was appropriate.

4If we have omitted anything, beloved ones, God will reveal it to those who are worthy, 
steering Holy Church to her mooring in the quiet haven.