Do the Canons of the Synod of Rome AD 743 mention ordained women?

I stumbled on an article concerning the recent attempted ordination of a “womanpriest” to the episcopate and in thecombox there was a reference and to the 5th Canon of the Synod of Rome, held under Pope Zacharias in 743 AD. I’m not buying what they’re selling but I cannot find any additional information on this synod or Pope Zacharias’ opinions or dealings with ordination.

Can you expand on the synod or teachings in the reign of Pope Zacharias?


No, it does not. The word used in that canon that is being mistranslated is presbyteram. It is a feminine plural. Many think that because presbyteros is used for male priests that it is simply the feminine language equivalent of a female priest. This however is incorrect. The word presbyteros simply means elder. It can be used as a title or as a description of a person. Take for example the word elder in English. Compare these two sentences:

  1. Respect your elders.
  2. The church elders have made a decision.

Note #1 simply describes an elderly person while #2 describes an official office. That doesn’t mean all elderly people hold an official church office.

At the time of the Synod of Rome in 743 the word presbyteram was used to describe consecrated widows or wives of priests. In the context of the Synod and the issues it was addressing (illegal marriages) the word is being used to describe consecrated widows. The Synod was declaring illegal any attempted marriage to a consecrated widow.

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