On Rational Sheep

Apostolic Constitutions ca. 1st-4th cent.

Hear, O you bishops; and hear, O you of the laity, how God speaks: I will judge between ram and ram, and between sheep and sheep. And He says to the shepherds: You shall be judged for your unskilfulness, and for destroying the sheep. That is, I will judge between one bishop and another, and between one lay person and another, and between one ruler and another (for these sheep and these rams are not irrational, but rational creatures): lest at any time a lay person should say, I am a sheep and not a shepherd, and I am not concerned for myself; let the shepherd look to that, for he alone will be required to give an account for me. For as that sheep that will not follow its good shepherd is exposed to the wolves, to its destruction; so that which follows a bad shepherd is also exposed to unavoidable death, since his shepherd will devour him. Wherefore care must be had to avoid destructive shepherds. (Bk. 2.19)

St. Meletios of Antioch died ca. 381

Do not show obedience to bishops who exhort you to do and to say and to believe in things which are not to your benefit. What pious man would hold his tongue? Who would remain completely calm? In fact, silence equates to consent. This was clearly indicated by John the Baptist, and by the Maccabees through their legislation, who went as far as risking death, without overlooking the fact that the law is susceptible to changes. (Andrei Psarev, The Limits of Non-conformity in the Byzantine Church [861-1300]: A Study of Canon 15 of the First and Second Council in Constantinople [861] pg. 13)

St. Photios the Great ca. 810-893

Can a priest be a heretic? The wolf may escape and get away, but do not be fooled and approach it, and even if it appears to be wagging its tail gently, avoid coming into contact with it, as it is like poison from a snake. (ibid., pg. 13)

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