Gangra Council of
Gangra Council Of (Concileum Gangrense), a synod held at Gangra, in Paphlagonia, 4th century, against Eustathius of Sebaste. SEE EUSTATHIANS. The precise date of the council is uncertain. Pagi, following Socrates, fixes it about A.D. 360; Ceillier about A.D. 379 (Asateurs Sacrgs, 4:379); Hefele (Conclienseschichte, 2:765) leaves it uncertain. It has been questioned, also, whether the Eustathians (οἱ περἰ Εύσταθίον), against whom this council was directed, really sprung from Eustathius of Sebaste. "All the facts are in favor of an affirmative answer to this question. Not only is the testimony of Socrates, 2:43, and of Sozomen, 3:14, to this effect, but the whole is in perfect accordance with the character of Eustathius, who was a zealous ascetic, and the first preacher of the ascetic life in the countries around the Pontus, and had formed a whole school. See Basilii Caesareans. ep. 233. (Here we find mentioned, in fact, the ascetic dress, to which the Eustathians, according to the report of the Council of Gangra, ascribed a peculiar sanctity — the ξἐνα άμφιάσματα, that is, according to the letter of Basilius, τὁ παχύ ἱματιον, και ἡ ζώνη καὶ τῆς ἀδεψή του βύρσης τὰ ὑποδήματα), and ep. 119 (Epiphanius, Haeres. 75.) — We perceive, also, in the letters of Basilius a trace of opposition to the new monastic spirit in the districts of the Pontus. At least at Neoceesarea, where the attachment to old usages prevailed, the spreading of the ascetic life among men and virgins was brought up as an objection against Basilius of Caesarea. See ep. 207 ad Neocesareens. § 2" (Neander, Ch. History, Torrey's transl. 2:244).
The acts of the council are very important as testimonies against certain doctrines and practices which have since characterized the Church of Rome. Eustathius taught that it is unlawful to marry, and to eat certain meats. He separated several married persons; advised those who disliked the public offices of the Church to communicate at home. He wore, and made his followers also wear, an extraordinary dress; obliged women to cut off their hair; and directed his followers to avoid, as the greatest profanation, the communion and the benediction of a married priest living with his wife. In opposition to these errors, twenty-one canons were published by the Council of Gangra. Fifteen bishops subscribed them, and addressed them, together with a synodal letter containing briefly the causes which led to the assembling of the council, to the bishops of Armenia.
Canon 1. Condemns with anathenma those who blame marriage, and who say that a woman living with her husband cannot be saved.
2. Condemns with anathema those who forbid the eating of meat.
4. Condemns those who separate themselves from the communion of a married priest, and refuse to partake of the holy communion consecrated by him.
9. Condenanis those who embrace the state of virginity or continence, not for the sake of perfection, but from a horror of the married state.
10. Condemns those who, having themselves embraced the state of virginity, insult married persons.
11. Condemns those who despise the agape or love-feasts, and refuse to participate in them.
12. Condemns those who, under pretense of extraordinary strictness wear a peculiar dress, and condemn those who wear ordinary clothing.
14. Condemns those who forsake their husbands through a false honor of marriage.
15. Condemns those who, under pretext of leading an ascetic life, forsake their children, without providing for their sustenance or conversion.
16. Condemns children who, upon. the same plea, desert their parents. — Landon, Manual of Councils, s.v. Hefele, l.c.; Neander, l.c.; Schrickh, Kirchengeschichte, 6:247.