The Penitential
David of Ganjak

Translation and Commentary
by C. J. F. Dowsett

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This work, which is presented solely for educational/research purposes, was published as The Penitential of David of Ganjak. Arm. 4. (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium) (Louvain, 1961).

To Monsieur Haig Berberian

Translator's Introduction

Table of Contents

Pages 5-10
Preface to the Book of Canons
1. All creatures are good.
2. Concerning a mouse which falls into salt.
3. Concerning a cup or dish or leather table-cover.
4. Concerning contaminated foods.
5. Concerning [food] eaten by cats.
Pages 11-16
6. Concerning a mouse which falls into a wine-press.
7. Concerning a mouse which falls into the oven.
8. Concerning that which is caught by a wolf or a dog, or is shot by an arrow, or which has fallen into a pit, etc.
9. Concerning clean animals which die at birth.
10. Concerning infidels who touch our food.
11. Concerning infidels who pick grapes.
12. Concerning the use of their vessels.
13. Concerning an infidel entering a church.
14. Concerning a mouse which falls into a beehive.
15. Concerning water entering a [wine] jar.
16. Concerning an Armenian woman who lives with a Kurd and will not separate from him for the sake of Christianity.

Pages 17-22
17. Concerning a woman who dwells with a Kurd.
18. Concerning a woman who fornicates with a Kurd.
19. Concerning those who voluntarily give their daughters to infidels.
20. Concerning those who feed the children of infidels at the breast.
21. Concerning those who accept the children of infidels for baptism.
22. Concerning monks who become sndiknosk'.
23. Concerning the baptism of Christians and the illumination of the holy font.
24. Answer to the question concerning the holy sacraments.
25. Concerning caution in the administration of holy communion.
26. Concerning women who die in childbirth.
Pages 23-28
27. Concerning caution in baptism.
28. Another [canon applicable] if any should incautiously become polluted in church.
29. Concerning the eructation of a priest.
30. Concerning those who out of vanity hide themselves inside [the church].
31. Concerning nocturnal pollution.
32. Concerning dedication to the priesthood.
33. Concerning those who sit upon a beast of burden and become polluted.
34. Concerning a priest who whilst celebrating mass is in an emergency summoned to baptise or to give communion to a sick person.

Pages 29-34
35. Concerning those who read the gospel to children or sick person for payment.
36. Concerning [the question] whether it is proper for the priest to pronounce anathemas during mass.
37. Concerning hopeless tyrants who may come. I also have of necessity flattered them.
38. Concerning the slaughter of unclean animals.
39. Concerning a child's father who went drinking.
40. Concerning a mother who falls asleep on her child [with the result that] he dies.
41. Concerning thieves who are caught and [are condemned] to the gallows.
42. Concerning a man who has a stubborn animal or a kicking horse.
43. Concerning a man sent on an errand by another.
44. Concerning [a child] who dies unbaptised.
45. Concerning an escaped slave/prisoner.
Pages 35-40
46. Concerning various acts of charity.
47. Concerning the sobriety of a married priest.
48. Concerning traitors, murderers, fire-raisers, and a woman who kills the child in her womb, the rule is as follows:
49. Concerning those who during coition insert the tongue into the mouth.
50. A paragraph on confession from the canons concerning various [matters of] atonement. A question.
51. Concerning wives who become pregnant : they shall not lie with their husbands.
52. Concerning those who swear [oaths] during fornication.

Pages 41-46
53. Concerning him who fornicates in a brothel.
54. Concerning those who destroy the seed of procreation.
55. Concerning those who abuse their body with their hand.
56. Concerning sodomy and bestiality.
57. Concerning harlots who kill their children.
58. Concerning thieves and murderers who kill their captives.
59. Concerning infidels who carry out a raid.
60. Concerning fire-raisers.
61. Concerning those who set themselves up in opposition and build a church.
62. Concerning those who consider their wife low-born.
63. Concerning priests who divulge the sins confessed to them.
64. [Concerning the case] where an ass mounts a cow or a goat a sheep.
65. Concerning those who observe the coupling of animals.
Pages 47-52
66. Concerning Wednesday and Friday.
67. Concerning the menstruation of women.
68. Concerning priests who do not preach.
69. Concerning the wife of a priest.
70. Canonical advice.
71. Concerning a woman hunting: it is wholly improper.
72. Concerning the mother who puts her. children in her own bed.
73. Concerning a young priest whose wife dies.
74. Concerning wives who incapacitate their husbands out of spite.

Pages 53-58
75. Concerning sterile women.
76. Concerning those who are incapable of taking [their wife's] virginity.
77. [Concerning women] who die in childbirth.
78. Concerning those who put their hand to an animal [to deliver its young?]
79. Concerning common thieves; the rule is as follows:
80. Concerning those who lay hands upon the holy things of God.
81. Concerning loved ones who open the tombs of the dead.
82. Concerning perjurers.
83. Concerning those who use vile language, who incur the wrath of God.
84. Concerning those who despise priests.
Pages 59-64
85. Concerning those who mourn for the dead.
86. Concerning those who accept exorbitant profits and interest.
87. Concerning those who make a covenant and break it.
88. [Concerning those] who do not give the fruits [due] to the Church.
89. Concerning those who on a feastday or Sunday do not go to the door of the church.
90. A question from the same priest concerning the three encaenia during which there is no eating of meat.

Pages 65-70
91. Concerning those who make a vow of chastity and do not keep it.
92. [Concerning those] who marry small children.
93. Concerning those who see the Cross in the possession of infidels and pay no heed.
94. Concerning the flesh of the hare and carrion.
95. Concerning various methods of divination and evil custom [s].
96. Again [a ruling] by the same Dawit', excellent vardapet, concerning a man fallen from a tree.
97. Concerning evil primates and priests.
Pages 71-74
97. Concerning evil primates and priests (continued).

Biblical References
Index of Names
Subject Index

This work uses the Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste transliteration for Armenian.

HTML formatting by Robert Bedrosian, 2010.

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