JO026 – Orthodox Byzantine Canon Law: Actuality and Problems


Course Information

Professor: Ioan Cozma

Program: Lun. I-II, Mer. I-II, Ven. III-IV, 1° sem., 2 cr., 3 ECTS [31/X – 25/XI]


In its evolution, Orthodox Byzantine Canon Law has acquired an evident particularity that makes it unique compared to Canon Law within the Catholic Church. Divorce and remarriage, application of the principle of oikonomia, and the manifestation of synodality are still topics of discussions and polemics between Orthodox and the Catholics. Disputes often arise either due to erroneous interpretations or a lack of considerations of the circumstances which generated such norms and praxis. Clarification of these concepts could lead to a better understanding of Orthodox Byzantine law and propose appropriate canonical and pastoral solutions.


Through analysis of the legislation and praxis of Byzantine Orthodox Churches, students will be assisted to familiarize themselves with (a) the mode of manifestation of Orthodox synodality, (b) the theology of oikonomia in pastoral life, (c) two concepts related to divorce and the possibility of a second/third marriage.


J.H. Erickson, The Challenge of our past, Crestwood 1991;


Id., “Oikonomia” in Byzantine Canon Law, in K. Pennington (ed.), Law, Church and Society, Philadelphia 1977, 225-236;


P. L’Huillier, The Indissolubility of Marriage in Orthodox Law and Practice, in St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 32 (1988) 199-221;


L. Lorusso, Forme atipiche della sinodalità ortodossa: le assemblee episcopali nella diaspora ortodossa, in L. Sabbarese (ed.), Strutture sovraepiscopali nelle Chiese orientali, Roma 2011, 283-292.