INTERDICT

Prohibition against administering the sacraments in a village or a monastery. In the correspondence of Bishop of Hermonthis from around 600, we learn of a case in which the doing of things that were not fitting either for monks or for the laity in a monastery (we are not told anything more precise), and their toleration by the abbot, led to the pronouncement of the interdict by the bishop. It was limited in time, up to the point at which the wrongdoer came to the bishop. In addition, the abbot was threatened with excommunication if he contravened the prohibition and held a service of communion in the monastery.

In a second case, we see in a letter from the bishop to the village officials of a locality that the interdict was decreed against the place because a man had been unlawfully arrested. Baptism and the conduct of public worship were expressly placed under penalty. Anyone acting in contravention of the prohibition was to be excluded from communion.

The imposition of the interdict is threatened in a further incomplete letter, after the inhabitants of a township declared the bishop’s canons void and threw the clergy into the river. When the bishop called the inhabitants to account because of this, they snorted at him. In all the cases the punishment has a time limit: until the wrongdoers come to the bishop, or until the wrong has been removed.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Crum, W. E. of the Coptic in the British Museum. London, 1905.
  • ____. of the Coptic in the Collection of the John Rylands Library Manchester. Manchester, 1909.
  • Reinhardt, K. “Eine arabisch-koptische Kirchenbannurkunde.” In Aegyptiaca, Festschrift für Georg Ebers zum 1. März 1897. Leipzig, 1897.
  • Steindorff, S. “Eine koptische Bannbulle und andere Briefe.” Zeitschrift für ägyptische und Altertumskunde 30 (1892):37-43.
  • Yassa ‘Abd al-Masih. “Letter from a Bishop of el-Fayyum.” Bulletin de la d’archéologie copte 7 (1941):15-18.

MARTIN KRAUSE