An example from a Byzantine source could be found in the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarium Orientalum. In this codex from the Oriental Rite here applied to Anglicanism, common law designates laws and lawful customs that would be common to all Anglican churches. This is opposed to a particular law, which designates laws, lawful customs, statutes and norms not common to the whole communion or to all provinces.
Among other travesties, the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarium Orientalum adheres to a seven sacraments view, a view which was explicitly rejected by the Anglican Reformers. Donlon has said, “the question of the number of sacraments was not an issue, it was resolved long ago by the church.” But in this, he reflects clearly his Roman Catholic background, and betrays a total lack of appreciation for the historic Anglican position, as codified in the Articles of Religion:
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
It is impossible for the Articles to be any more clear than they are at this point. Donlon may think that this only applied to the 16th century, but he is wrong. This is not a time-bound statement, but a universal one. And let me look at another issue near to my heart, from the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarium Orientalum, namely, icons. The Codex says:
Art. IV. Veneration of the Saints, of Sacred Images and Relics
Canon 884 – To foster the sanctification of the people of God the Church recommends to the special and filial veneration of the Christian faithful the Holy Mary ever Virgin, the Mother of God, whom Christ established as the Mother of the human race; it also promotes true and authentic devotion to the other saints by whose example the Christian faithful are edified and through whose intercession they are sustained.
Canon 885 – Veneration through public cult is permitted only to those servants of God who are listed among the saints or the blessed by the authority of the Church.
Canon 886 – The practice of displaying sacred icons or images in churches for the veneration of the Christian faithful is to remain in force in the manner and order established by the particular law of each Church sui iuris.
Canon 887 – §1. Sacred icons or precious images, that is, those which are outstanding due to antiquity or art, which are exposed in churches for the veneration of the Christian faithful, cannot be transferred to another church or alienated without the written consent given by the hierarch who exercises authority over that same church, with due regard for cann. 1034-1041.
This is again completely antithetical to the norms of Anglicanism. For example, in the year 1549, injunctions were issued by Edward VI, by virtue of 31 Hen. VIII. c. 8, confirmed by 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. c. 23, the Proclamation Statutes. In these injunctions we find:
3 Item. That such images as they know in any of their cures to be or have been so abused with pilgrimage or offerings of anything made thereunto, or shall be hereafter censed unto, they (and none other private persons) shall, for the avoiding of that most detestable offense of idolatry, forthwith take down, or cause to be taken down, and destroy the same; and shall suffer from henceforth no torches, nor candles, tapers, or images of wax to be set afore any image or picture, but only two lights upon the high altar, before the sacrament, which for the signification that Christ is the very true light of the world, they shall suffer to remain still, admonishing their parishioners that images serve for no other purpose but to be a remembrance, whereby men may be admonished of the holy lives and conversation of them that the said images do represent; which images if they do abuse for any other intent, they commit idolatry in the same, to the great danger of their souls.”
The Twenty-second of our Articles of Religion says:
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, worshipping and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
So, if GAFCON was to agree with Donlon that a greater adherence to canon law is needed, why would we not rather start with Cranmer’s Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum? Why on earth would we start with a Byzantine Catholic legal code that is like a dagger pointed at the heart of a Reformed Catholic Church?