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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



collections of Byzantine ecclesiastical laws, including imperial decrees (nomoi) pertaining to the church and church rules (kanones). The oldest extant nomocanon, containing 50 titles, was compiled at the turn of the seventh century, possibly by the patriarch of Constantinople, John Scholasticus.

The most popular nomocanon, containing 14 titles, was compiled sometime between 629 and 640 by an anonymous jurist known only as Enantiophanes. It was revised in 883 (a revision incorrectly attributed to the patriarch Photius) and again around 1090 by the jurist Theodore Vestes. Vestes’ nomocanon was supplemented in the 12th century by several commentaries: the short commentaries of Alexios Aristenes, a high official in the Constantinople patriarchate, and the more detailed interpretations by John Zonaras and Theodore Balsamon, patriarch of Antioch. The nomocanon contained precepts ascribed by the church to the apostles (actually from the third century), decisions of ecumenical and various provincial councils, and excerpts from the works of a number of church writers and from Justinian’s Codex and Novellae. The commentaries cite decrees of emperors and patriarchs and some court cases. The nomocanon of 14 titles, with commentaries by Aristenes and Zonaras, became the basis for the Slavonic Kormchie knigi.


Rhalles, G. A., and M. Potles. Syntagma ton theion kai hieron kanones, vols. 1–6. Athens, 1852–59.


Beneshevich, V. N. Kanonicheskii sbornik XIV titulov so vtoroi chetverti VII v. do 883 g. St. Petersburg, 1905.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The cases were judged primarily on the basis of a digest common to the Eastern Slavs called Kormchaia (literally, The Pilot), which was a complex compendium of canon law extracted from Byzantine nomocanons. (23) The second printed edition of Kormchaia (1653) functioned as a sort of official code.