DEFROCKING OF PRIESTS (Greek, apókleros)
According to the extant texts from the correspondence of bishops, especially that of bishop ABRAHAM of Hermonthis from the period around 600, the process of exclusion from the clergy is the same as that of excommunication. After the bishop has been informed of transgression by clergy, these offenses are placed on record and the bishop notifies the clergy of suspension. In addition, the superiors of these clergy are informed of the punishment of their subordinates, or it is communicated to all the clergy in circular letters. This exclusion is not final; it is in force until the person excluded comes to the bishop or fulfills a commission he has failed to complete, for which failure he has been excluded from the clergy.
The following grounds are named for exclusion: disobedience toward the bishop, holding a communion service at the wrong time, incorrect ordering of divine service, offenses against the professional duties of the clergy, failure to keep night watches or to hold divine service, refusal to accept a church canon, and failure to appear before a court. In addition, stewards are punished if on Saturday and Sunday they have deserted their monasteries without previous inspection.
The bishop expressly threatens exclusion from the clergy in cases of disobedience of his instructions, for instance, if the cleric does not go to a particular person and give him communion or if he does not deliver a letter. Clergy who act as security for a man also are threatened with exclusion if they do not report the man’s disobedience to the bishop.