Church Law and Church Order in Rome and Byzantium: A Comparative Study, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Church Law and Church Order in Rome and Byzantium

A Comparative Study, 1st Edition

By Clarence Gallagher


294 pages

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This book presents a comparative study of church order in the East and West of the Christian world. It deals with the development of canon law from the 6th century, the time of Dionysius Exiguus and John Scholastikos, up to the period of Balsamon and Gratian. While the focus is upon Rome and Constantinople, the author includes in his discussion the churches under Islamic rule, in Syria and Persia, and describes the beginnings of Slavonic canon law in Moravia. The issues of church government, the discipline of the clergy (married or celibate), and the question of divorce and re-marriage are key themes. By illustrating how these were faced in the canon law of the Christian churches of late antiquity and the earlier Middle Ages, the book highlights questions of unity and diversity within the Christian tradition.


'… impressive… There is no study comparable to this in any language.' New Blackfriars 'The author's evident passion for the subject, based on his vast reading and attention to historical detail, renders the book all the more interesting for the reader. Easy to read, the text also provides English translations for most Latin and Greek citations and adds four useful appendices as well as a helpful bibliography.' Orientalia Christiana Periodica 'This is unique in any language in recent times, so far as I am aware, as a scholarly comparison between the canon laws of the churches of East and West in the Middle Ages… for both the specialist and the interested amateur Gallagher has given an invaluable and pleasantly written account of a subject that not only was hugely important in the Middle Ages but also has much relevance today for the life of the churches in question and to their ecumenical relations with each other.' Journal of Theological Studies 'Father Gallagher's work is truly magisterial: not only does he review almost a thousand years of canon law from the law's formative period, but he presents it in a uniformly readable way… a welcome, fresh and valuable contribution to literature on ecumenism.' Ecclesiastical Law Journal 'The book is a gripping read. Because Gallagher presents a thorough historical orientation to the problems he addresses, the book will be valuable to students who need to find their feet in such diverse topics as Greek learning in sixth century Rome, the place of the Emperor in the Church of Constantinople, or Christianity in Asia during the Middle Ages. Gallagher also skillfully addresses a number of peripheral topics that are of great interest… it must be acknowledged that, within a brief book, Gallagher successfully enggaes with a host of important themes. His book will therefore be valuable even for readers who have only a modest interest in canon law as such.' Heythrop Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Dionysius Exiguus and John Scholastikos: Rome and Constantinople in the 6th century; The Nomokanon and the false decretals: Constantinople and Rome in the 9th century; St Methodios the Canonist: the Greek origins of Slavonic canon law; Gratian of Bologna: the consolidation of Pontifical law; Theodore Balsamon: the Orthodox church in 12th-century Constantinople; Bar Hebraeus and Ebedjesus: the development of canon law outside the empire; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Clarence Gallagher, Campion Hall Oxford, UK

About the Series

Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies

Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies is devoted to the history, culture and archaeology of the Byzantine and Ottoman worlds of the East Mediterranean region from the fifth to the twentieth century. It provides a forum for the publication of research completed by scholars from the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK, and those with similar research interests from around the world.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General