New book on Oikonomia, Divorce, and Remarriage

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Title: Oikonomia, Divorce and Remarriage in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition

Author: Kevin SCHEMBRI

Publisher: Pontifical Oriental Institute – Orientalia Christiana & Valore Italiano

Series: Kanonika (vol. 23)

Year: 2017

About the book:

How do the Eastern Orthodox Churches understand the mystery of marriage? On what grounds do these Churches concede ecclesiastical divorce and tolerate a new marriage? What is oikonomia and how is it invoked in the Orthodox East? Is the Orthodox position compatible with the Catholic approach to the indissolubility of marriage? Over the last decades, these questions were the subject of numerous studies. This volume builds on this research and attempts to offer a comprehensive systematic answer to these questions. By doing so, it adds to the already rich tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and presents the Western Churches with a valuable resource in their pursuit of ecumenical dialogue, in their dealing with the ever-growing reality of mixed marriages, and in their ministry to the divorced and remarried members of their faithful. With a foreword by the Cardinal Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and published as volume 23 in the series Kanonika, this study forms part of the various projects launched by the Pontifical Oriental Institute during its centenary celebrations.

About the author:

Kevin Schembri is a lecturer in canon law and coordinator of two master programmes at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Malta. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology from that university, and a licentiate and doctorate in canon law (with specialisation in canonical jurisprudence) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is a Catholic priest and serves as promoter of justice and defender of the bond for the Archdiocese of Malta.

For more info: 



New edition of Potz’s and Synek’s handbook of Eastern Orthodox Canon law

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A new edition of Richard Potz’s and Eva Synek’s Orthodoxes Kirchenrecht: Eine Einführung (Freistadt: Plöchl, 2014, 570 pages) is forthcoming. This handbook is written as a comprehensive introduction to Eastern Christian canon law. It is conceived as a supplement to Nikodim Milaš’ handbook Pravoslavno crkveno pravo (2nd ed. 1902). The new handbook is updated and focuses especially on the canon law in force in the local Eastern Orthodox Churches as well as gives an updated bibliography to relevant scholarly literature. It has the following content:

  • Vorwort 
  • Einleitung
  • Terminologische Einführung
  • Historische Hintergrundinformationen: die byzantinische Epoche
  • Die neuzeitliche Entwicklung der Europäischen Orthodoxen Kirchen
  • Staat, Kirche, Gesellschaft in der Gegenwart
  • Rechtstheologische Grundlegung
  • Die Rechtsquellen
  • Kanonistische Gesetzeslehre
  • Grundzüge des Personenrechts
  • Verfassungsrecht
  • Ehrecht
  • Bußdisziplin und Grundfragen des kirchlichen Strafrechts
  • Vermögensrecht
  • Kirchenrecht und Ökumene

It costs 80 € (not including shipping) and may be ordered from:



Institut für Rechtsphilosophie, Religions- und Kulturrecht 
z. Hd. Gabriele Buchta

Schenkenstraße 8-10, 1010 Wien

Review: A new concordance to the Byzantine canons

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Source: http://davidheithstade.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/review-a-new-concordance-to-the-byzantine-canons/

Παῦλος Μενεβίσογλου. Λεξικὸν τῶν ἱερῶν κανόνων. ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ 28. Kateríni: Epektasis, 2013, 379 pages. ISBN: 978-960-356-147-7.

Metroplitan Pavlos Menevisoglou of Stockholm and All Scandinavia, who in 2014 will celebrate his fortieth anniversary as bishop, has this year published a concordance of all the words in the canons in the Eastern Orthodox corpus canonum. This concordance also includes an appendix which shows the different numerations of the canons in Rhallis/Potlis, Migne’s Patrologia Graeca, and the Pedalion. (Joannou has the same numeration as Rhallis/Potlis.) A complete concordance to the Byzantine corpus canonum has been needed for a long time in order to facilitate philological and doctrinal research on Eastern Orthodox canon law. The concordance is published in the series ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ (Bibliothèque Nomocanonique) directed by Archimandrite Grigorios Papathomas, professor of canon law at the University of Athens and the Institut de théologie orthodoxe Saint-Serge in Paris.

Metropolitan Pavlos Menevisolgou has also previously published several important monographs on the history of Eastern Orthodox canon law: for example, the following:

  • Ἱστορικὴ εἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τοὺς κανόνας τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας. Stockholm: Metropolis of Stockholm and All Scandinavia, 1990.
  • Δύο πολύτιμα χειρόγραφα ἱερῶν κανόνων (Πάτμου 172-Ἀθηνῶν 1372). ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ 20. Kateríni: Epektasis, 2006.
  • Αἱ ἐκδόσεις τῶν ἱερῶν κανόνων κατὰ τὸν 16ον καὶ  17ον αἰῶνα (1531-1672). ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ 21. Kateríni: Epektasis, 2007.
  • Τὸ Πηδάλιον καὶ ἄλλαι ἐκδόσεις ἱερῶν κανόνων κατὰ τὸν 18ον αἰῶνα. ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ 22. Kateríni: Epektasis, 2008.
  • Τὸ Σύνταγμα Ράλλη καὶ Ποτλῆ καὶ ἄλλαι ἐκδόσεις ἱερῶν κανόνων κατὰ τὸν 19ον καὶ 20ον αἰῶνα. ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ 23. Kateríni: Epektasis, 2009.

In the front matter of the concordance there is the following contact information for sending orders to the publishing house which prints the series ΝΟΜΟΚΑΝΟΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ:

B.P. 14014
GR-115 01
Ampélokipoi, Athènes

Review: Josef von Zhishman (1820-1894) and Eastern Orthodoxy in the Austro-Hungarian Empire

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Thomas Mark Németh. Josef von Zhishman (1820-1894) und die Orthodoxie in der Donaumonarchie. Kirche und Recht 27. Freistadt: Plöchl, 2012, 402 pages.

Thomas Mark Németh has written a study of Josef von Zhishman (1820-1894) and his relationship with Eastern Orthodoxy in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Although Zhishman was not Orthodox himself (but an Ultramontane newspaper once accused him of this) he stood in the center of the history of Eastern Orthodoxy in the nineteenth century. He was the first professor of Eastern canon law at the University of Vienna. The tradition of the academic study of Eastern canon law begun by Zhishman continues to this day; for example, in the work of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches. Zhishmans’ study on the marriage law of the Eastern Church, Das Eherecht der orientalischen Kirche (1864), is still today unsurpassed in many ways and continues to be published in Modern Greek translation. Zhishman also supported the career and work of Nikodim Milaš (1845-1915), the most influential modern Eastern Orthodox canonist who was recently locally canonized by the eparchy of Dalmatia in Serbian Orthodox Church. The works of Milaš and Zhishman are still more or less required readings in the academic study of Eastern Orthodox canon law.

Zhishman was also the primary adviser on the Eastern Orthodox Churches to the Ministry for Religious Affairs and Education. In this capacity he influenced the organization of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (e.g., the appointment of bishops) and the organization of higher Eastern Orthodox theological education. The Austrian Empire had since the end of the seventeenth century a recognized Eastern Orthodox minority and towards its end the Austro-Hungarian Empire had three Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical provinces: (1) the metropolitan eparchy of Karlowitz with Szentendre, Pakrác, Plaski, Neusatz, Temesvár, and Werschetz as suffragan eparchies; (2) the metropolitan eparchy of Hermannstadt with Karásebes and Arad as suffragan eparchies; and (3) the metropolitan eparchy of Czernowitz with Zara and Cattaro (both in the geographically distant Dalmatia) as suffragan eparchies. Most of the Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical structure of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has today been incorporated into the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Zhishman was also very active in the foundation of the Department of Theology at the University of Czernowitz which was incorporated into the Department of Theology at Bucharest University in 1948.

Németh’s study of Zhishman is well-researched and uses previously neglected archival material and the subject makes for an interesting read. Németh’s study is not only an important contribution to the history of the study of Eastern Orthodox canon law and Eastern Orthodoxy in the Austo-Hungarian Empire, but also to the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

The study can be ordered from:

Institut für Rechtsphilosophie, Religions- und Kulturrecht
Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Wien
Schenkenstraße 8-10, 1010 Wien, Tel. 0043-1-4277-35814, Fax. 0043-1-4277-35899

Source: http://davidheithstade.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/review-josef-von-zhishman-1820-1894-and-eastern-orthodoxy-in-the-austro-hungarian-empire/

New book on Joseph von Zhishman

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Thomas Mark Németh:

und die Orthodoxie in der Donaumonarchie

Das Buch würdigt erstmals umfassend die bislang kaum bekannte
Bedeutung des Wiener Ostkirchenrechtlers Josef Ritter von Zhishman
(1820–1894) für die Orthodoxie in der Habsburgermonarchie.

Josef von Zhishman fand in der historischen Literatur bisher fast
ausschließlich als Lehrer von Kronprinz Rudolf Erwähnung. Weithin
unbekannt war hingegen, dass der gebürtige Laibacher seit den 1860er
Jahren vom Wiener Ministerium für Kultus und Unterricht als faktisch
einziger Experte für Rechtsfragen der Orthodoxen Kirche in der
Donaumonarchie herangezogen wurde. Eine rumänische Zeitung bezeichnete
ihn deshalb einmal spöttisch als „Orakel“ des Ministeriums. Zhishman
etablierte außerdem Erforschung und Lehre des Ostkirchenrechts an der
Wiener Juristenfakultät, seine Monographien zählen noch heute zu den
einschlägigen Standardwerken.

Die vorliegende Arbeit, die sich auf Zhishmans umfangreichen Nachlass
und zahlreiche Archivalien, insbesondere aus dem Österreichischen
Staatsarchiv, stützt, ordnet die zahlreichen Gutachten in den Komplex
der Organisationsfragen der Orthodoxie in der Habsburgermonarchie ein.
Zu den von Zhishman behandelten Fragen gehörten zum Beispiel die
Errichtung der Eparchie Cattaro (heute Kotor/Montenegro) und die
Gründung der Metropolie der Bukowina und von Dalmatien.

Besonders eng war sein Wirken mit Czernowitz und der Orthodoxen
Theologischen Fakultät der 1875 dort errichteten Universität
verbunden: Zum einen bereitete Zhishman Vertreter der ersten
Professorengeneration auf ihre wissenschaftliche Tätigkeit vor, zum
anderen spielte er bei der Einrichtung der Fakultät eine maßgebliche
Rolle und war mit der Lösung zahlreicher Rechtsfragen beauftragt. Der
Status der „autonomen“ orthodoxen Kirchengemeinden in Cisleithanien
blieb hingegen ein bis zum Ende der Monarchie weitgehend ungelöstes
Problem. Darüber hinaus beschäftigte sich Zhishman mehrfach mit der
Orthodoxie in Bosnien und in Herzegowina.

Zhishmans Arbeiten berühren auch fast 120 Jahre nach seinem Tod in
Schönbrunn viele aktuelle Probleme und Fragestellungen des orthodoxen
Kirchenrechts, wie etwa die Frage nach der Teilnahme der Laien an der
Kirchenverwaltung. Eine Edition besonders wichtiger Gutachten
Zhishmans ist angedacht.

Bibliographische Angaben:
Thomas Mark Németh, Josef von Zhishman (1820–1894) und die Orthodoxie
in der Donaumonarchie (Kirche und Recht 27), Freistadt: Plöchl 2012,
402 Seiten, 9 Abbildungen, € 49,80. ISBN 978-3-901479-78-6 ISSN
0259-0735 (Kirche und Recht)

Zu bestellen beim:
Institut für Rechtsphilosophie, Religions- und Kulturrecht
Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Wien
Schenkenstraße 8-10, 1010 Wien, Tel. 0043-1-4277-35814, Fax. 0043-1-4277-35899

Review: Canon Law in New Textbook on Practical Theology

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The Roman Catholic theological education in Germany is presently being reshaped to conform to the Bologna Process. The education is now reshaped into self-contained units or modules (modularisierten Studiengang). (This new system is similar to the system which has already been introduced at universities in Sweden; although constructive alignment between the units has not always been achieved) New textbooks are being produced in connection with this reform. UTB has an ambitious project which in the end will result in fourteen new textbooks. Only two textbooks have become available thus far in the series: Theologie studieren im modularisierten Studiengang. One of these is C. P. Sajak, ed., Praktische Theologie: Modul 4. UTB 3472. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2012, 292 pages.

This volume contain an introduction to Roman Catholic canon law: G. Bier, “Einführung in das Kirchenrecht”. This is a very short introduction to the general sources and concepts of contemporary Roman Catholic canon law (primarily Latin rite and the particularities of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical law in Germany). The author has as his only ambition to present the law in force in the way which it currently functions. In this short introduction central concept are explained but not critized, e.g., ‘ius divinum‘, ‘ius mere ecclesiasticum‘, ‘lex‘, ‘interpretatio authentica‘, ‘societas perfecta‘, etc. Although the treatment of these concept is somewhat conservative but useful since they correspond the the current canonical praxis of the Roman Catholic Church; although this may sometimes be criticized from the perspective of post-conciliar theology (as it usually is in books on canon law and systematic theology in English). One odd thing is  that this short introduction seems to attribute a legislative competence to the episcopal conferences which goes beyond the provisions of CIC-83 can. 455, but this may be a norm of the particular law of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.


David Heith-Stade

Lund University

Review: History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500

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I have recently finished the first four parts of The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500 which treat Byzantine canon law (the last part treat non-Byzantine Oriental canon law) and will attempt to write a short review of the work.

W. Hartmann and K. Pennington, eds. History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law. Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2012, 356 pages. The book is a part of the series History of Medieval Canon Law.

The contributions are written by experts from various countries and then translated into English. The book contains the following contributions:

  1. S. Wessel, “The Formation of Ecclesiastical Law in the Early Church”.
  2. H. Ohme, “Sources of the Greek Canon Law to the Quinisext Council (691/692): Councils and Church Fathers”.
  3. S. Troianos, “Byzantine Canon Law to 1100”.
  4. S. Troianos, “Byzantine Canon Law from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Centuries”.
  5. H. Kaufhold, “Sources of Canon Law in the Eastern Churches”.

The contributions are well-researched and contain valuable references to editions and scholarly literature. The translations are, however, somewhat uneven and sometimes a bit sloppy (especially the second chapter by Troianos).

Wessel’s chapter deals with the origin of canon law and the development of church order up to the first ecumenical council of Nicaea (325). The relationship between the Torah and the church is treated, especially the eschatological re-interpretation of the Torah in Early Christianity. She focuses on the institutionalization of authority and organizational development of the church. Her chapter also deals with the development of the notions of normativity and legitimacy in the church order.

Ohme’s chapter deals mostly with the corpus canonum until the Quinisext council. He provides a short account of the various councils which issued the conciliar canons of the corpus canonum and the authors of the patristic canons. One major drawback with this chapter is that the issues of the dates of the various councils are treated in a very unsatisfactory manner and in many cases omitted; it is remarkable, considering that Ohme is an expert on the Quinisext council, that he does not write anything about the arguments concerning the date of the Quinisext council.

The two chapters by Troianos are very similar to the corresponding chapters in his ΟΙ ΠΗΓΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΝΟΥ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ. His chapters focus on the collections of canons which were used in the canonical praxis and transmitted the sources of canon law. Apart from the canonsTroianos also treats imperial legislation on church matters (“Staatskirchenrecht”). The second chapter also treats the classic Byzantine canonists and Byzantine ecclesiastical jurisprudence.

David Heith-Stade

Lund University