Ecclesiastical Law

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ecclesiastical Law


the aggregate of rules, sanctioned or established by the state, that regulate the internal organization of the church and the relations between church organizations, believers, and the state. In countries where the church is separate from the state, ecclesiastical law does not exist, and the rules of internal church relationships have no legal character (seeCHURCH AND STATE, SEPARATION OF).

Until the October Revolution of 1917, church organizations had their own jurisdiction, both as regards family relations and with respect to certain other areas. Thus, the Russian Orthodox Church had the right to rule on conflicts between members of the Orthodox clergy concerning rights of ownership of church property and to conduct criminal proceedings against the clergy and laity accused of those criminal and lesser offenses subject to an ecclesiastical penance. Proceedings concerning criminal and lesser offenses committed by members of the clergy “contrary to their office, decorum, or moral behavior” were also relegated to the jurisdiction of the Church.

On Jan. 20 (Feb. 2), 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars passed a decree separating the church from the state and the schools from the church. Internal church affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church are subject to the Regulations for the Governance of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopted by the local council in 1945.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Initially analyzed in the context of theology, by the 1830s or so ecclesiastical law had begun to draw the attention of legal experts as well.
Rallis, Manual of Ecclesiastical Law that is in Effect in Greece, issue A (Athens, 1927), 13ff; Chr.
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And yet, this is no mere history of ecclesiastical law. Over the course of nine chapters, Moore uses this most traditional source base to explain in a new way how bishops became an "intellectual elite within a warrior society" and then used this status to shape fundamentally the character of the Carolingian political state (368).
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Although the city councilors were the primary urban elite group that controlled the appointment and promotion of the clergy, chapter 4 shows that they were subject to the periodic intervention of the Saxon Elector in Dresden and the territorial consistories that were the ultimate determiners of ecclesiastical law. The complexity of these governmental structures may contribute to the diffuse nature of chapter 4, but the author also investigates some tangential matters such as laws related to witchcraft.
Liverpool-born Stephen also practises ecclesiastical law and served as deputy registrar for the diocese of Birmingham.
ANDREW and Gail Wallbank have lost a seven-year legal battle against the Church of England enforcing an ancient ecclesiastical law requiring them to pay for pounds 200,000 repairs to a Warwickshire parish church, plus pounds 100,000 costs (and rising).
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Part I outlines the common and ecclesiastical law. Part II discusses the courts, their officers, the process, the evidence, the costs, and the penance.