Conons

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) hereinafter called “The Church of Nigeria” or “This Church” shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-Nine Article of Religion.

.2. The Church of Nigeria has power so to order its discipline as to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines which are contrary to God’s word as understood and interpreted in the aforementioned formularies.

 

  1. In the interpretation of the aforementioned formularies and in all questions of Faith, Doctrine and Discipline, the decisions of the ecclesiastical tribunals of the Church of Nigeria shall be final.

 

  1. The Church of Nigeria holds as its standard of worship and authorizes for general use the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England and the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Nigeria.

 

  1. The Church of Nigeria has power to make and authorize such changes and additions or alternatives to the forms of service provided in the said books and such new forms and service as may be required to meet the needs of this Church and are neither contrary to the doctrinal standards named in these

Declarations nor indicative of any departure from them.

  1. This Church holds that each of the three Orders of the Ministry – Bishops, Priests and Deacons – has particular duties in the Church and that this distribution of duties may rightly be attributed to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Bishops have a special responsibility and authority for the preservation of the

truth of the doctrine of the Church for the purity of its life, and the worthiness of its worship; the Priests, in co-operation with and under the guidance of the Bishops have a special responsibility for preaching the word of God and administering the Holy Sacraments and generally for the cure of souls, and the

Deacons have a special responsibility for the care of the poor and distressed, for the instruction of the young and the ignorant, and for giving assistance to the Priests in Divine Service.

 

  1. No fundamental amendment to the foregoing Declarations may be made unless the proposed amendment is first provisionally approved by the General Synod, is subsequently submitted to each Diocese of the Church of Nigeria for consideration and receives the approval of not less than two-thirds of the Dioceses and is finally confirmed by at least a two-thirds majority vote of the General Synod. The amendment shall thereafter be communicated to all the Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion.

 

 

CANON II Of Election of Primate

  1. OFFICE OF THE PRIMATE

(1) There shall be an Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), who shall exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of a Metropolitan and shall be the principal minister of the Church.

(2) Election Of The Primate

The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate may be referred to simply as “the Primate” and shall be elected by the Episcopal Synod in accordance with the provisions of this Canon.

  1. ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(1) For the purpose of electing the Primate there shall be a Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee.

(2) The Advisory Committee shall comprise one clerical member and one lay member elected for that purpose by each Diocesan Synod.

(3). One of the functions of the Committee shall be to advise the Episcopal Synod in writing on the qualifications and qualities required in the Primate.

(4) The recommendations as to the qualification and qualities by the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee shall be submitted in writing by a delegate of the Advisory Committee to the Episcopal Synod before they sit to elect the Primate.

  1. NOMINATION

The Episcopal Synod shall have the right to nominate up to four members of their own members House who in their own opinion have what they consider to be the qualifications and qualities required in the Primate.

  1. HOW ELECTED

(1) The Primate shall be elected by secret ballot after the nominations have ended.

(2) The candidate who shall be declared elected shall secure at least two-thirds of the votes of the total membership of the Episcopal Synod or as otherwise provided in this Canon.

  1. TENURE OF OFFICE

(1) The Primate shall hold office for a period of ten years from the date of his presentation or until he attains the age of seventy years, whichever first occurs: Provided that his tenure may be terminated before the expiration of the term on the

resolution of a two-thirds majority of the Episcopal Synod or by a majority vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the General Synod.

(2) Resignation

The Primate may resign as Primate or Archbishop without thereby resigning as Bishop of his Diocese; but if he shall resign his Diocese he shall cease to be Primate unless he is at the same time translated as Diocesan Bishop to another See within the Church of Nigeria.

  1. SUMMONING OF THE MEETING OF THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS

(1) When the office of Primate is vacant, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria shall summon the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee to meet within two months of the date on which vacancy occurs, to make a recommendation which shall be submitted to the Episcopal Synod to be specially summoned for that purpose within one week of the meeting of the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee.

(2) When the Primate notifies the Dean of his intention to resign or retire and the Dean has in consultation with the Bishops accepted the resignation or retirement, the Dean shall, within two months, summon a meeting of the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee to make their recommendation to the Episcopal Synod. The recommendations of the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee shall be submitted to a meeting of the Episcopal Synod which shall meet within one week of the meeting of the Church of Nigeria Advisory Committee for the purpose of electing a successor.

(3) When the Primate is also a Provincial Archbishop and both offices become vacant, the Episcopal Synod shall first elect a Bishop from the Province concerned to be a Provincial Archbishop before holding election to fill the vacant office of

Primate.

(4) Until the General Synod otherwise directs, the Primatial seat shall be within the Diocese of which the Primate is Bishop without prejudice to the Primate having offices in Lagos and Abuja.

  1. PROCEDURE AT ELECTION

(1) On the day of the election, Holy Communion shall be celebrated by the Dean of the Church of Nigeria or another Bishop appointed by him.

(2) The election shall be presided over by the Registrar of the Church of Nigeria. In his absence, the Dean of the Province shall appoint the Chancellor of any Diocese of the Church of Nigeria to preside.

(3) Should the election not be determined upon the first ballot, the procedure shall be repeated a second, and, if need be, a third time.

(4) If the election remains indecisive, a fourth ballot shall be taken and the candidates to be voted for shall be limited to the two persons with the highest votes on the third ballot.

(5) If the election still remains indecisive, further election shall be postponed till the next day. On that day, Holy communion shall be celebrated and shall be followed by a fifth ballot which shall be decided by a simple majority of all members present and voting. If there is a tie, the candidate who is senior by consecration shall be declared elected.

(6) A certificate issued by the Registrar or the person who has presided over the election of a Primate shall be final and conclusive as to its contents.

(7) Any dispute arising from the election of a Primate shall be determined by the Episcopal Synod with the Registrar presiding, and their decision shall be final: Provided that when there is any allegation of misconduct against the Registrar in the conduct of the election, the immediate past Registrar of the Church of Nigeria shall preside or in his absence any other legal officer of the Church elected by the Episcopal Synod.

  1. PUBLICATION

As soon as possible after the election, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria (or the Episcopal Secretary) shall cause the name of the newly elected Primate to be published in all the Dioceses within Nigeria and notify all the other Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion.

 

CANON III Of Election of a Provincial Archbishop and the Dean

 

(1) Office Of The Provincial Archbishop

There shall be a Provincial Archbishop who shall be the Chairman of the Provincial Council of a Province within the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

(2) Election Of Provincial Archbishop

The Provincial Archbishop shall be elected by the Episcopal Synod from the Bishops having See within the Province in accordance with the provisions of this Canon.

(3) The Dean

The Dean of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) shall be the Provincial Archbishop, Senior by presentation as Archbishop, and shall be next in rank to the Primate and perform all such duties as are specified for him by the Constitution and the Canons of the Church.

  1. PROVINCIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(1) For the purpose of electing a Provincial Archbishop there shall be a Provincial Advisory Committee.

(2) The Provincial Advisory Committee shall comprise one clerical member and one lay member elected for that purpose by each Diocesan Synod of Dioceses within the Province.

(3) One of the functions of the Committee shall be to advise the Episcopal Synod in writing on the qualification and qualities required in a Provincial Archbishop.

(4) The recommendation as to the qualification and qualities by the Provincial Advisory Committee shall be submitted in writing by a delegate of the Advisory Committee to the Episcopal Synod before they sit to elect the Provincial Archbishop.

  1. NOMINATION

The Episcopal Synod shall have the right to nominate up to four members of their own members whose Sees are within the Province concerned and who in their opinion have what they consider to be the qualifications and qualities required in an

Archbishop.

  1. HOW ELECTED

(1) The Provincial Archbishop shall be elected by secret ballot after the nominations have ended.

(2) The candidate who shall be declared elected shall secure at least two-thirds of the votes of the total membership of the Episcopal Synod or as otherwise provided in this Canon.

(1) Tenure Of Office

The Provincial Archbishop shall hold office for a period of five years from the date of his presentation or until he attains the age of seventy years, whichever first occurs:

Provided that a Provincial Archbishop under the age of seventy shall be eligible to be re-nominated for re-election one more time, but shall not hold office beyond the age of seventy.

Provided further that the tenure of an Archbishop may be terminated before the expiration of the term on the resolution of a two-thirds majority of the Episcopal Synod or by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members of the General Synod.

(2) Resignation

A Provincial Archbishop may resign the Archbishopric without thereby resigning as Bishop of his Diocese: but if he resigns as Bishop of his Diocese, he shall cease to be Provincial Archbishop unless he is at the same time translated as Diocesan Bishop to another See within the Province.

  1. SUMMONING HOUSE OF BISHOPS

(1) When the office of Provincial Archbishop is vacant, the Primate or in his absence the Dean of the Church of Nigeria shall summon the Provincial Advisory Committee to meet within two months of the date on which the vacancy occurs, to make a recommendation which shall be submitted to the Episcopal Synod to be specially summoned for that purpose within two weeks of the meeting of the Provincial Advisory Committee.

 

(2) When a Provincial Archbishop notifies the Primate of his intention to resign or retire and the Primate has in consultation with the Bishops accepted the resignation, the Primate or in his absence the Dean of the Church of Nigeria shall within two months summon a meeting of the Provincial Advisory Committee to perform its duties under the provisions of this Canon. The recommendation of the Provincial Advisory Committee shall be submitted to a meeting of the Episcopal Synod which shall meet within two weeks of the meeting of the Provincial Advisory Committee for the purpose of electing a successor.

 

  1. PROCEDURE AT ELECTION

(1) On the day of the election, Holy Communion shall be celebrated by the Primate or any other Bishop appointed by him.

(2) The election shall be presided over by the Primate or any other Bishop appointed by him.

(3) In the event of the election not being determined on the first ballot, the procedure shall be repeated a second, and, if need be, a third time.

(4) If the election remains indecisive, a fourth ballot shall be taken and the candidates to be voted for shall be limited to the two persons with the highest votes on the third ballot.

(5) If the election still remains indecisive, further election shall be postponed till the next day. On that day, Holy communion shall be celebrated as directed by the Primate and shall be followed by a fifth ballot which shall be decided by a simple majority of all members present and voting. If there is a tie, the candidate who is senior by consecration shall be declared elected.

 

  1. PUBLICATION

As soon as possible after the election, the Primate shall cause the name of the newly elected Provincial Archbishop to be published in all Dioceses.

 

CANON IV Of Election of Bishops

  1. ELECTION OF BISHOPS

Every Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Nigeria shall be elected in accordance with the procedure laid down in this Canon.

  1. CONFIRMATION

Every election of a Bishop within the Church of Nigeria must be confirmed in writing by the Primate, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria before it can take effect.

  1. OATH OF OBEDIENCE

At his consecration or translation, every Bishop of the Church of Nigeria shall swear an oath of Canonical obedience to the  Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria and to his lawful successors.

  1. PERSONS ELIGIBLE

A Bishop for any Diocese in the Church of Nigeria may be elected from among the Bishops or Clergy of any diocese of the Church of Nigeria, or of any other Diocese in Communion with this Church.

  1. TAKING EFFECT OF APPOINTMENT AND DECLARATION

The appointment of a Bishop to a Diocese of the Church of Nigeria shall take effect from the moment of his consecration, or, if he be already consecrated, upon the confirmation of his appointment by the Primate, provided that everyone so appointed shall declare, in writing, his assent to the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria according to forms prescribed by the General Synod.

  1. ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(1) There shall be in each Diocese of the Church of Nigeria an Advisory Committee to be appointed by the Synod of the Diocese to advise the Primate on the appointment of a Diocesan Bishop when a vacancy occurs in the Diocesan Bishopric.

 

(2) The Committee shall consist of four clerical and five lay members of the Synod of the Diocese. The lay members shall include at least one woman and also the Chancellor of the Diocese who shall be the Chairman of the Committee. It shall be the duty of the Bishop of each Diocese after every Synod to inform the Primate of the name and address of the Chairman of the Advisory Committee of his Synod.

 

  1. PROCEDURE OF DEATH ON BISHOP

On the death of any Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, the Dean or Provost of the Cathedral of the Diocese, or the Senior Archdeacon, or the Senior Priest shall, within seven days, notify the vacancy in writing to the Primate.

  1. PROCEDURE ON RESIGNATION

On the resignation of any Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, the Primate, after the acceptance of the resignation shall notify the same to the Diocese concerned.

  1. PROCEDURE ON RESIGNATION

In the event of the translation, or retirement of a Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Nigeria or of his being divested of his ecclesiastical dignity or preferment, the Primate shall notify the same to the Vicar-General of the Diocese concerned, or, where no Vicar-General has been appointed, to the Dean or Provost of the Cathedral, or the Senior Archdeacon or the Senior Priest.

  1. BISHOPS TO BE INFORMED

When a vacancy in a Diocesan Bishopric in the Church of Nigeria occurs, the Primate shall instruct the Advisory Committee of the Diocese concerned to meet and forward to the Primate in writing the views of the Committee in general terms on the qualifications (including level of education, parish experience, commitment, acceptability, etc.) required in the Bishop to be elected for the consideration of the Episcopal Synod.

  1. VIEWS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Upon receiving the views of the Advisory Committee, the Primate shall convey them in writing to the members of the Episcopal Synod.

  1. METHOD OF ELECTION

(1) The Primate shall summon the Episcopal Synod to meet at such place and time as he shall appoint, and the Episcopal Synod shall elect a new Bishop to the vacant Bishopric.

(2) The election shall be preceded by the celebration of Holy Communion.

(3) At the election, nominations shall be made by the Primate and Bishops. The election shall be by secret ballot.

(4) An elector may, if unable to be present, send his nomination and/or vote, in writing signed and witnessed, to the Primate.

(5) The election shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of the total membership including those absent as well as those present whether voting or not voting.

(6) If the election be not decided upon the first ballot, a second ballot shall be taken on the two candidates with the highest number of votes and it shall be decided by simple majority of those present and voting. In the event of a tie, the Primate or Bishop presiding shall have a casting vote.

  1. NOTIFICATION OF ELECTION

The Primate or Bishop presiding over the election of a new Bishop shall notify the person so elected.

  1. VERIFICATION

Before confirming the election, the Primate shall examine or cause to be examined by a Chancellor or Registrar of any Diocese of the Province the following documents to be presented by the

Bishop-Elect –

(i) Certificate of birth or other proof of his age;

(ii) Certificates or other proof of his Baptism and Confirmation;

(iii) His letters of Orders; and

(iv) Letters commendatory or dismissory from the Bishop of his Diocese or the Archbishop of his Province.

  1. CONFIRMATION

Upon receiving the acceptance of the offer, the Primate shall confirm the appointment and inform the Vicar-General of the Diocese concerned.

  1. DECLARATION

When an election of a new Diocesan Bishop is made, a Declaration of such Election shall be made and signed in duplicate, in the presence of and on behalf of the meeting (if it be done at a

meeting), by the Primate or Bishop presiding over the election and one other Bishop who shall be senior in consecration to the other Bishops. One copy of the Declaration shall be kept in the Registry of the Church of Nigeria, and the other kept in the Registry of the Diocese concerned.

  1. NOTICE OF ELECTION

Immediately after the election of a Bishop by the Episcopal Synod, the Primate shall cause the following notice to be affixed to the principal door of the Cathedral of the Diocese concerned –

“Whereas A ………………………………………………………………………………….. B …………………………………………………………………………………………… in the Diocese of……………………………………………………………..within the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has been duly elected Bishop of the Diocese of……………………………if anyone can show any cause or just impediment why the said A.B. should not be consecrated to that Holy Office (or translated to that See), or can offer any canonical objection to the election or form thereof let him signify the same to me in writing delivered by hand or registered post within fourteen days from this date.”

(Signed by the Primate, Archbishop and Metropolitan.) The notice shall also be proclaimed in the Cathedral of the Diocese during Divine Service on the two Sundays following.

  1. GROUNDS OF OBJECTION

Valid objection may be made on the grounds either that the See is not canonically vacant or that the election was unconstitutional, or that the person elected is under thirty years of age, and has not been a priest for six years; is not of competent learning, or of sound faith, or of good morals, or is otherwise canonically disqualified, or that he is under such liabilities or contracts as not to be a free agent.

 

  1. EXAMINATION OBJECTION

If any canonical objection to the election be offered, the Primate, together with his Diocesan Chancellor, shall examine such objection. Objections may only be offered by a communicant member of the Church, of an honest life and good report, who shall supply sufficient certificates to that effect, and who shall subscribe a declaration that he will accept the decision of the Primate as final.

  1. DECISION

In the examination of a canonical objection, the decision of the Primate shall be final.

  1. PROMULGATION

If the Primate is satisfied that the documents presented by the Bishop-Elect are sufficient, and that no canonical objection which may have been offered to the election is valid, he shall confirm the election and issue the instrument of confirmation to the Vicar-General. He shall transmit the name of the person elected to the other Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion.

 

CANON V Of Appointment of Suffragan Bishop

  1. APPOINTMENT OF A SUFFRAGAN BISHOP

(1) When a Diocesan Bishop deems it necessary for the good of the Church that a Suffragan Bishop should be appointed to assist him in the work of his Diocese, it shall be competent for him, after receiving the concurrence of the Diocesan Synod by resolution, to make application to Episcopal Synod through the Primate for leave to appoint a Suffragan Bishop.

(2) On receiving the application, the Episcopal Synod shall take into consideration the state of the Diocese and shall enquire into the question whether adequate provision has been made in the Diocese concerned for the housing and maintenance of a Suffragan Bishop, and may either grant or withhold their consent to such appointment being made.

(3) When the office of Suffragan Bishop in any diocese falls vacant, it shall suffice for the Episcopal Synod alone to authorise the Bishop of the said Diocese to proceed to fill the vacancy provided no vacancy shall be filled by the Diocesan Bishop without full consultation with his Diocesan Board.

(4) Whenever an appointment of any Suffragan Bishop is to be made, the Diocesan Bishop shall nominate a person to the Primate of the Church of Nigeria after consultation in his Diocese for election to the office. The Primate after consultation with the Diocesan Bishop, may, in his discretion, either issue his summons to attend the Episcopal Synod to consider the nomination, or cause a postal ballot of all those entitled to attend to be held. If the nomination be approved by a simple majority of the Diocesan Bishops either at a meeting or by postal ballot, the person in question shall be declared elected subject to the canonical confirmation of the election by the Primate through the Diocesan Bishop.

  1. VERIFICATION, CONFIRMATION & CONSECRATION OF A BISHOP SUFFRAGAN OBJECTIONS TO APPOINTMENT, DECISION OF THE PRIMATE

The verification of all relevant Documents of a Suffragan Bishop, the Confirmation of his appointment, notice of the Election, Objections to the appointment, Examination of Objection, Decision and Promulgation shall be as in the case of a Bishop except that the instrument of Confirmation shall be sent to the Diocesan Bishop concerned.

  1. VOTING RIGHT OF A SUFFRAGAN BISHOP

(1) A Suffragan Bishop shall have the right to sit, speak and vote as a member of the House of Bishops in the Church of Nigeria.

(2) A Suffragan Bishop shall have the right to be summoned to meetings of the Episcopal Synod, and shall be entitled to speak but not to vote at such a meeting.

 

  1. EPISCOPAL DUTIES OF A SUFFRAGAN BISHOP

A Suffragan Bishop shall hold the Commission of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and shall use his Episcopal powers and exercise such authority and oversight for any work within the limits of the Diocese as from time to time may be determined for him and assigned to him by the Bishop of the Diocese, or during the vacancy of the See by the Primate. But if the Diocesan Bishop shall not assign any such duties or authority, the Suffragan Bishop shall have the right to appeal to the Primate and to the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, who shall hear and determine the matter, provided always that the withdrawing of the Commission of a Suffragan Bishop by the Primate at the request of the Diocesan Bishop shall not become effective until the Episcopal Synod is satisfied that he will be adequately provided for in some other way.

 

CANON VI Of Consecration and Enthronement of Bishops

  1. CONSECRATION & ENTHRONEMENT

At the earliest convenient time after the confirmation of the appointment of a Diocesan Bishop, the Bishops shall proceed to consecrate and enthrone the person so elected and confirmed.

  1. BISHOP-ELECT

Every Bishop-Elect shall, before his consecration, subscribe to the declaration set out in the Canon of Declarations and Subscriptions.

  1. ENTHRONEMENT

(1) The Bishops of the Church of Nigeria shall be enthroned after the manner of enthronement of a Bishop authorised in the Church of Nigeria.

(2) After the consecration or translation of a Diocesan Bishop, the Primate shall issue a Mandate for his enthronement to the Dean, or Provost, a Chapter of the Cathedral Church, where such body is duly constituted, or otherwise to the Senior Priest of the Diocese.

(3) The Bishop shall thereafter be enthroned after a manner of enthronement of a Bishop authorised in the Church of Nigeria.

 

  1. CONSECRATION

The Primate and two other Bishops or, if the Primate be unable to act, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria and two other Bishops, shall be required for a consecration: provided that with the concurrence of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee, the Consecration of a Bishop for the Church of Nigeria may take place in any other Province in communion with the Church of Nigeria and be conducted by the Metropolitan of that Province.

  1. CUSTODY OF RECORDS

After the consecration of any Bishop of the Church of Nigeria whether he has been consecrated in Nigeria or elsewhere, it shall be necessary that the Certificate of Election and all records connected with such consecration be deposited in the archives of the Church of Nigeria: and it shall be the duty of the Registrar of the Church of Nigeria to require the production of all such papers before enthronement. The record of enthronement shall be added thereafter.

 

CANON VII Of Bishop’s Veto in the Synod of his Diocese

  1. BISHOPS VETO

The Bishop of a Diocese may veto any resolution of the Synod of his Diocese which he considers to be detrimental to the interest of the Church.

  1. EPISCOPAL SYNOD

If the Bishop dissents from any resolution of a two-thirds majority of the Synod of his Diocese, a vote by Orders shall be taken, and if the Bishop, as representing his Order, after having expressed his intention of exercising his veto, shall then negate

the decision of a two-thirds majority of the Clergy and Laity then present in Synod, the Dean or Provost, or the Senior Priest or any other member of the Synod present (if thereto empowered by resolution of the aforesaid Clergy and Laity) may appeal against the Bishop’s decision to the Primate (or Dean of the Church of Nigeria) and Bishops of the Church of Nigeria who shall hear and determine the matter in the Episcopal Synod. And if the Episcopal Synod shall override the Bishop’s veto, the said Bishop shall promulgate the resolution in his Diocese within seven days and it shall have the same force and effect from and after that date as if it had been promulgated by the Diocesan Synod.

 

CANON VIII Of the Residence of Bishop

  1. RESIDENCE OF BISHOPS

Every Bishop appointed to the charge of a Diocese shall reside within his Diocese unless, upon the ground of ill-health or other important consideration, it should for a time be inadvisable for him to so do and of such exceptional circumstances as the Primate shall decide.

  1. CONSENT FOR ABSENCE

No Diocesan Bishop shall be absent from his Diocese continuously for more than eight weeks without the consent of the Primate, nor an Archbishop from his Province continuously for more than eight weeks without notifying the Primate who shall inform the other Bishops.

  1. PROVISIONS DURING ABSENCE

No Diocesan Bishop shall absent himself from his Diocese for more than eight weeks without appointing under his hand and seal a Vicar-General with authority to administer the spiritualities of the Diocese, and to maintain discipline according to the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria. If any Bishop shall be absent from his Diocese for more than six months, he shall be bound to make due provision for Confirmations and Ordinations within his Diocese.

  1. ABSENCE WITHOUT CONSENT

In the event of any Diocesan Bishop being absent from his Diocese for more than eight weeks without the consent required by this Canon, it shall be competent for the Primate to give him three months’ notice, in writing, to return to his Diocese: and should the notice be disregarded, the Primate may, with the consent of the majority of the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, declare the See vacant.

  1. ABSENCE OF PRIMATE

The functions of the Primate in the preceding section shall, in the event of the Primate coming under the operation of its provisions, be exercised by the Dean of the Church of Nigeria.

 

CANON IX Of Resignation and Retirement of Bishops

  1. RESIGNATION OF BISHOP

If a Bishop desires to resign his See, he shall send his letter of resignation to the Primate (or, if he himself be the Primate, to the Dean of the Church of Nigeria). The Primate (or, in the case of the resignation of the Primate, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria) in consultation with the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria, shall judge whether the resignation should be accepted or not.

  1. COMPULSORY RETIREMENT

Any Bishop of the Church of Nigeria may, upon representation made to the Primate by at least two Bishops of the Church of Nigeria be asked, or if necessary required, to resign his See. He shall be given the fullest opportunity to defend himself and his defence shall be given careful consideration. If the Primate in consultation with the other Bishops of the Church of Nigeria decides that the Bishop is unable adequately to discharge the duties of his office, he shall be required to retire.

  1. PENSIONS FOR BISHOPS

It shall be the duty of the Diocese to see that satisfactory provision is made for the pension of the Bishop on his retirement.

  1. RETIREMENT ON GROUND OF AGE

Every Bishop of the Church of Nigeria shall be deemed to retire from office on attaining the age of seventy years.

  1. VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT

A Bishop may with the approval of the Standing Committee of Church of Nigeria retire before he attains the age of seventy.

  1. NOTICE OF RETIREMENT

It shall be the duty of the retiring Bishop to give to the Primate and the Diocesan Board of his Diocese at least six months’ notice of his retirement.

  1. COMPULSORY RETIREMENT OF THE PRIMATE

In the event of the Primate coming under the provisions of Section 2 of this Canon, his functions shall be exercised by the Dean of the Church of Nigeria.

 

CANON X Of Administration of Vacant Bishoprics

  1. PRO TEMPORE ADMINISTRATION

Where any See of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

becomes vacant by the death of a Bishop, or other sufficient

cause, the spiritual care and governance thereof shall devolve

upon the Primate, who, after consultation with the Archbishop

of the province concerned, may appoint –

 

(a) a supervisory Bishop; or

(b) a Vicar General, to act for the time being until the See be again canonically filled, defining in writing the duties which the appointee shall perform.

  1. TENURE

(1) The tenure of the appointee to administer a vacant See shall not exceed three months unless the appointment is renewed in writing by the Primate.

2) The Primate may determine the appointment of the administrator pro tempore, and appoint another in his place. He may also redefine, alter or add to the duties of the administrator.

 

  1. SUPERVISORY BISHOP

(1) Any Bishop of the Church of Nigeria may be appointed to supervise a vacant See in addition to his duties within his own Diocese, and he shall be designated as the Supervisory Bishop of the vacant See in addition to being the Bishop of his own Diocese.

(2) A Supervisory Bishop shall administer the vacant See separately from his own Diocese.

 

(3) A Supervisory Bishop shall perform all the duties of a Bishop in the vacant See.

(4) A Supervisory Bishop shall be entitled to reimbursement for all his out of pocket expenses in the vacant See as may be approved by the Primate.

(5) A Supervisory Bishop shall not embark on any new capital project in the See without the approval of the Diocesan Board and the Primate.

  1. VICAR GENERAL

(1) The Primate may appoint any priest of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), with not less than six years post ordination experience, to be a Vicar General of a vacant See.

(2) A Vicar General shall oversee the day-to-day administration of the vacant See, but shall not otherwise perform the duties of a Bishop.

 

  1. ASSETS OF THE DIOCESE

The revenues of a vacant Bishopric, and all church funds administered by the Bishop shall, during the vacancy of the See, be received and administered by the Diocesan Finance Board (or such other body as the Primate may appoint), which shall duly account for the same to the next succeeding Bishop, within three months from the date of the enthronement.

  1. REMUNERATION FOR EXPENSES

The body administering the temporalities of a vacant See shall appoint out of the said temporalities such a sum as it shall see fit to remunerate the Primate and the Vicar-General for the expenses incurred by them and shall pay the residue to the next succeeding Bishop.

 

CANON XI Of Episcopal Synod

  1. MEMBERS

The Episcopal Synod shall be composed of all the Diocesan Bishops, Suffragan Bishops, Assistant Bishops and Retired Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

  1. VOTING RIGHT

Only Diocesan Bishops of the Church of Nigeria shall have power to vote at meetings of the Episcopal Synod.

  1. AUTHORITY

The Episcopal Synod shall have final authority in those matters which, as stated in the Fundamental Declarations of the Church of Nigeria, are the special responsibility of the Order of Bishops: provided that in a question of Faith or Order, if there is not unanimity, any Bishop may require that opinions be sought in the matter from other Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion.

  1. FUNCTIONS

The Episcopal Synod shall discuss such matters as the Primate or any Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Nigeria wishes to bring before it, and the Episcopal Synod shall have the right to bring before the General Synod such things touching upon worship and uniformity in the form of worship.

  1. MEETINGS

The Episcopal Synod shall meet whenever so required by this Constitution, and at such other times as the Primate shall think fit. The place and time of meeting shall be determined by the Primate; provided that the Primate shall summon the Episcopal Synod to meet if at any time requested so to do by three or more Diocesan Bishops.

  1. QUORUM

A quorum for a meeting of the Episcopal Synod shall be one-third of total number of Diocesan Bishops including the Primate if present.

 

 

CANON XII Of Proceedings at General Synod

  1. COMPOSITION

The General Synod shall consist of:

(a) The House of Bishops;

(b) The House of Clergy; and

(c) The House of Laity;

which three houses shall be constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

 

  1. (1) Notice of General Synod

The Primate (or other Bishop convening the General

Synod as provided in the Constitution) shall give to all the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria at least six calendar months’ notice of every ordinary session of the General Synod: and the Bishop of each Diocese shall cause such notice to be published throughout his Diocese and sent to members of the General Synod in his Diocese through their registered address within four weeks of receiving such notice.

 

(2) Agenda

The agenda for the General Synod shall be prepared by the Primate in consultation with the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria.

 

  1. SPECIAL SESSIONS

When a special session of the General Synod is convened, two months’ notice shall be sufficient and the Primate shall specify the purpose(s) for which the Synod is being summoned.

  1. REPRESENTATION

Every Diocese of the Church of Nigeria shall be entitled to be represented in the General Synod by two Clerical and three Lay Representatives. The Lay representatives shall include the Chancellor and at least one woman.

  1. PRESIDENT

The Primate is, by virtue of his office, the President of the General Synod; in the case of a vacancy in his office, or in the unavoidable absence of the Primate, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria (or, in his absence, the Archbishop Senior by presentation as Archbishop who is present) shall preside.

  1. ELECTION OF REPRESENTATIVES

The Clerical and Lay Representatives of a Diocese shall be elected in such a manner, and according to such rules, as the Diocesan Synod may make in that behalf. Representation of Dioceses at the General Synod may be reviewed from time to time by the General Synod or by the Standing Committee in between Synods.

  1. FILLING VACANCIES

In each Diocese, the Diocesan Synod shall make rules to

provide for the filling of vacancies in the Clerical and Lay Representation of the Diocese which may occur through death, resignation, loss of qualification, or any other good cause, between the time of the election or appointment and the subsequent meeting of the General Synod.

  1. HOUSE OF BISHOPS

The House of Bishops shall consist of such Bishops as are, at the time of the meeting of the General Synod, Diocesan Bishops, Suffragan Bishops, Assistant Bishops and retired Bishops.

  1. HOUSE OF CLERGY

The House of Clergy shall consist of all priests and deacons who hold the licence of the Bishop of the Diocese which they represent and are voting members of the House of Clergy of the Diocesan Synod of that Diocese or have been elected or appointed Clerical Representatives of that Diocese, in accordance with Diocesan Constitutions.

  1. HOUSE OF LAITY

The House of Laity shall consist of such communicant members of the Church of Nigeria, of the age of eighteen years and above as have been elected or appointed Lay Representatives of the Diocese they represent in accordance with the provisions of Diocesan Constitutions.

  1. MEETING SEPARATELY

It shall be competent for the members of any one or all of the three Houses of the General Synod, when they judge it to be expedient, to deliberate separately during any session of the General Synod.

  1. CERTIFICATION OF REPRESENTATIVES

The Bishop of each Diocese shall cause the names of the representatives of that Diocese to be sent to the Registrar and Clerical Secretary of the Church of Nigeria not less than one month before the session of the Synod, and shall certify that the said Representatives, both Clerical and Lay, are duly qualified, and have been duly elected or appointed.

  1. SECRETARIES AND TREASURER

During every ordinary session the General Synod shall elect two of its members as Lay and Clerical Secretaries and one as Treasurer who shall serve until their successors are elected during the next ordinary session. In the event of any being unable so to serve, the Primate, after, consultation with the Prolocutor and the Chairman, shall appoint a member to act until the next ordinary session of the Synod.

  1. HOLY COMMUNION

Every session of the General Synod shall begin with a celebration of Holy Communion.

 

  1. MEETINGS OF SYNOD

Ordinary sessions of the General Synod shall take place every three years; provided that the General Synod shall meet whenever the Primate decides that the circumstances of the Church require it. The General Synod shall be summoned by the Primate whenever requested to do so by at least one-third of the membership of any House.

  1. VOTING BY HOUSES

Voting in the General Synod shall be by Houses if any member of the Synod so demands. If voting be by Houses, it shall be conducted in the following order – first by the House of Laity, then by the House of Clergy, then by the House of Bishops.

  1. MAJORITY

An enactment of the General Synod shall be valid if it receives the assent of a majority of the members present at a duly constituted session of the said Synod: Provided that, if voting by Houses, the assent of a majority of the members present of each of the three Houses shall be necessary.

  1. STANDING ORDERS

Subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria, the General Synod has power by means of Standing Orders to regulate its own proceedings.

  1. AUTHENTICATION AND PRINTING

At the commencement of business of any session of the

General Synod, a Printing Committee shall be set up in such manner as the Synod may determine to perform such duties as the Synod may assign to it. The enactments of the Synod at that session should be authenticated by the President in the presence of the Synod, or its Standing Committee, and the Committee appointed for the purpose in accordance with these regulations shall cause the said enactment, together with such other of its proceedings as the Synod shall have ordered to be published, to be carefully printed or cyclostyled for the general use of the Church, and the said Committee shall transmit to each Bishop a copy of the regulations and proceedings so printed for the information of the Diocesan Synod: and each Bishop shall notify in such manner as he shall see fit, to all the congregations in his Diocese, the alterations that have been made in the provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria.

  1. COMMITTEE OF REFERENCE

At the commencement of every session of the General Synod there shall be set up from its members a Committee of Reference to which the Primate, the General Synod or the Standing Committee may submit for its advice any proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria or any Diocesan Constitution, other proposed enactment of the General Synod, or any other matter, which committee shall be constituted as the General Synod may from time to time determine.

 

CANON XIII Of Proceedings in the Standing Committee

  1. MEETINGS

The Primate (or, in his absence, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria) shall summon meetings of the Standing Committee of the Synod at such time and place as he may appoint.

 

  1. ELECTION OF PANEL TO FILL VACANCIES

When members of the Committee have been elected, the Clerical representatives on the General Synod of each Diocese of the Church shall elect one of their number, and the Lay Representatives on the General Synod of each Diocese of the Church shall elect one of their number to form a panel from which the Primate shall be entitled to draw such persons as may be required to fill vacancies which may occur in the membership of the Committee through death, resignation or any other cause.

 

  1. VOTING BY HOUSES

At the request of any member of the aforesaid Committee voting upon a motion before the Committee shall be by Houses.

 

  1. QUORUM

The Quorum for the meeting of the Standing Committee of the General Synod at which the Primate or Dean shall be present shall be one-third of its members.

 

 

CANON XIV Of Ecclesiastical Discipline

  1. OFFENCES

The following are the charges or accusations on which the Primate, a Provincial Archbishop, a Bishop, a Priest or a Deacon in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) may be presented for trial:

(A) A conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction for felony or other allied offences.

(B) Sexual immorality.

(C) Conduct giving just cause for scandal or offence.

(D) Heresy or false doctrine.

(E) Schism, or acceptance of membership in a religious body not in communion with the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

(F) Apostasy from the Christian Faith.

(G) Violation of any provision of the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria or of a Diocese.

(H) Disobedience, which is to say, willful contravention of the Regulations either of the General Synod, or of the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese in which he holds office.

(I) Neglect of the duties of his Office.

(j) Being a member of a secret society or cult, and failure or refusal to renounce membership of the same when required to do so.

  1. LIMITATIONS TO THREE YEARS

No original proceedings shall be instituted before any Tribunal of the Church of Nigeria if more than three years have elapsed since the date of the alleged offence, except leave be given for a further extension of time by the Primate under his hand and seal: or except the proceedings are grounded upon a finding of a civil or Criminal court, in which case such limitation shall not apply if such

proceedings are commenced within six calendar months of such findings having been pronounced.

  1. HOW CHARGES ARE TO BE LAID

All charges shall be made in a document signed by the presenters, wherein shall be specified all particulars of time, place, and circumstances alleged by them, intimation being made of the name and address of some person, to whom all necessary communications in the cause shall be made as the agent of the presenters.

  1. HERESY

Any accusation of heresy or false doctrine must aver that the accused has taught, published or otherwise publicly promulgated, some doctrine or opinion repugnant to or at variance with the Faith and Doctrine of the Church as contained in the Fundamental Declarations and must specify the particular passages of these Standards and Formularies to which the said accusation refers, as well as the particular statements of the accused which may be the subject of the charge.

  1. ACCUSATION

The accusation shall be entitled “Articles of Presentment.”

  1. JUDGEMENT TO BE ACCEPTED

With the Articles of Presentment, the presenters shall transmit a minute of reference and agreement to the effect that the judgment of the Tribunal in all matters contained in the Articles of Presentment shall be held to be final in the cause, saving such rights of appeal as may be allowed by the regulations of the Church of Nigeria.

  1. CLERICAL ASSESSORS

Clerical Assessors appointed to assist in the hearing of a case shall answer such questions as shall be put to them by the Court and shall be a liberty to tender to the Court/Tribunal their opinion on questions that may arise.

  1. LAY ASSESSORS

Lay Assessors, being persons who shall be communicant members and, if possible, learned in the law, shall be appointed in every case except the charge be one of heresy; and it shall be

competent for them to give their opinion upon such questions as shall come before the Court/Tribunal.

  1. CHALLENGE

The accused shall have the right to challenge any two of the Assessors nominated to sit at his trial, and the place of the Assessors so challenged, if the challenge be upheld, shall be filled by the appointment of others by the President of the Tribunal, which appointment shall be final.

  1. JUDGEMENT

The Tribunal shall be bound to consider, but not necessarily to accept the opinions of the Assessors before pronouncing judgment.

  1. COUNSEL

The accused shall be entitled to have the aid of counsel or an agent and may submit his defence in writing. The presenters also may be aided by counsel, and be represented by any agent they may appoint (being a Communicant member).

  1. CONDITION OF TESTIMONY

No testimony shall be received at the trial except from

witnesses who shall before giving their evidence, make an affirmative answer to the following question –

“Do you promise, in the presence of Almighty God, that you will speak the whole truth, whether in the declaration which you shall make, or in the answer which you are about to give?

  1. TESTIMONY BEFORE A COMMISSIONER

If it be necessary to take the testimony of an absent witness, or witnesses, such testimony shall be taken, in the form and manner above provided, by a Commissioner or Commissioners to be appointed for that purpose, and the evidence shall be reduced to writing and forwarded to the court, which evidence shall be read and used at the trial; provided, however, that no application for the appointment of such Commissioner or Commissioners shall be made by either party to the President of the Court, except after at least twenty-four hours notice in writing given by the one to other, of his or their intention so to apply.

  1. PUBLIC PROCEEDINGS

The proceedings shall be public, unless the President of the Tribunal shall deem it advisable on the grounds of public morals that they should be private, and the accused does not object.

  1. RESIGNATION AS BAR

In any case where a charge has been brought against any person, being a Bishop, Priest or Deacon of this Church, if such person shall tender his resignation to the Primate or Bishop (as the case may be) before any enquiry into such charges shall have been made, and if the Primate or Bishop, in the exercise of his discretion, shall see fit to accept the resignation so tendered, then the proceedings shall cease unless the accused demands that they should go on.

  1. PROCEEDINGS UPON ADMISSION OF GUILT

If at any period in the course of the proceedings the accused shall in writing make an admission of guilt, and offer to submit to whatever sentence may be pronounced against him, the Primate or Bishop (as the case may be) shall have power to dispose of the case, on the basis of the admission made, in such a way as shall seem good to him: provided always, that no sentence pronounced under such circumstances shall exceed that which the Primate or Bishop would have been warranted in pronouncing had the accusation been proved to the extent of the admission made, after a trial regularly concluded.

  1. SENTENCES

Every sentence of a Tribunal shall be given in writing.

 

  1. REVIEW

Whenever a sentence has been passed by any Tribunal of the Church, it shall be competent for the Primate or Bishop (as the case may be) within thirty days after sentence is passed, to direct that the case shall be reviewed or reheard, if it shall appear to him that there are cogent reasons for believing that the sentence was founded on some error, either as to the facts of the case or as to the law of the church, so that justice has not been done to the accused.

  1. NO APPEARANCE OR WRITTEN DEFENCE

If the accused does not appear after citation as herein before provided and no sufficient reason in the opinion of the Tribunal is assigned for this absence, or if he shall send in a written defence, the Tribunal shall proceed with the trial and give such judgment as the case may require, unless the President of the Tribunal see fit to order a second citation to be issued.

  1. CONTUMACY AND ITS PENALTIES

Any person against whom judgment has been given who shall refuse to obey the sentence of any Tribunal of the Church, shall, if not sentenced to suspension or deprivation, be excommunicated, unless, for reasons which must be notified in open court, the Primate or Bishop (as the case may be) shall decide that it is undesirable to proceed to extreme measure of excommunication. It shall be the duty of the Primate or Bishop (as the case may be) after due notice to pronounce the sentence of excommunication.

  1. RECORD TO BE PRESERVED

Every Tribunal of the Church of Nigeria shall keep a full record of its proceedings, including the Articles of Presentment, with the names of the presenters and the accused, the evidence, the opinions of the clerical or lay Assessors, and the judgment of the Judge or Judges. The record shall be preserved in the Registry of the Tribunal.

22A. TRIAL OF BISHOPS

A Bishop of the Church shall, where charges are brought against him be tried by a court consisting of the Primate and the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria. The Primate shall preside. The Bishops except the accused, shall be summoned by the Primate to the hearing of the charge; but no trial shall take place unless there be present at least six Bishops, including the Primate, but excluding the accused.

22B. TRIAL OF PRIMATE

Should the Primate be the accused, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria shall preside and the sentence of the court shall be signed by him and at least three other Bishops: Provided that no trial of the Primate shall take place unless there be present at least four Bishops, including the Dean of the Church of Nigeria but excluding the accused.

  1. HOW CHARGES ARE TO BE MADE

No charge shall be received against a Bishop of the Church unless it be preferred, if it relates to a matter of Faith and Doctrine, by at least five Priests of the Diocese, or by a Bishop of the Church or, if it relates to other matters, by at least three Priests of the Diocese and also three Lay Representatives in the Synod of the Diocese of the accused Bishop.

  1. ACCUSATION

In the case of an accusation against a Bishop, the Articles of Presentment shall be delivered to the Primate, except he be the accused in which case they shall be delivered to the Dean of the Church of Nigeria.

  1. MANNER OF SERVING CHARGE

The Primate (or if the Primate is the accused, the Dean of the Church) shall, at the earliest moment after receipt of the Articles of Presentment transmit a copy of the same to the accused, and to each of the other Bishops of the Church. All intimations and citations shall be deemed to be duly served by a copy thereof being forwarded by registered post to the residential address of the accused.

  1. TERM OF TRIAL

The trial shall take place within four months of the receipt of the Articles of Presentment by the Primate or the Dean of the Church (as the case may be) unless, owing to the difficulty of communication, it appears to him necessary to postpone it to a latter day: but in no case shall it be postponed beyond a year.

  1. CLERICAL ASSESSORS

In the trial of a Bishop, the President shall appoint three Clerical Assessors, each Assessor being a Dean, Provost, Archdeacon or Canon of some Cathedral Church in the Church of Nigeria; and he shall, except on charges of heresy, also appoint one or two persons as Lay Assessor or Assessors.

  1. DEFENCE

In the trial of a Bishop, the accused may, if he sees fit, submit his defence in

writing.

  1. SENTENCE

In the trial of a Bishop the sentence, if the accused be found guilty, shall be either admonition, censure, suspension, or deprivation, and in addition to any of these, the court may pass a sentence of excommunication, as the offence or offences adjudged to have been proved shall seem to deserve, due regard being paid to provisions relating to Judicial Sentences.

  1. COMMUNICATION OF SERVICE

It shall be the duty of the court, whenever a sentence has been pronounced, to communicate such sentence to all other Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion, and also to the Dean, Provost, Archdeacon, or other ecclesiastical authorities of every Diocese of the church of Nigeria, and it shall be the duty of such authority to cause such sentence to be made known to every Clergy man under his jurisdiction.

 

TRIAL OF PRIESTS AND DEACONS

  1. THE BISHOP’S COURT

Where a case arises, concerning ecclesiastical discipline of Priests and Deacons, the Chancellor of the Diocese or some other Lay communicant member learned in the law appointed by the Bishop shall preside in the Bishop’s court. The Bishop shall appoint as assessors not more than three priests and one other layman well accounted of in the Diocese and he may, if he thinks it desirable to do so, appoint as additional assessors one priest and one layman from any other diocese in the Church of Nigeria.

  1. REGISTRAR OF COURT

The Bishop shall nominate a suitable person to act as registrar or clerk of the court. The President, or the registrar under the President’s direction shall take notes of the proceedings and such notes authenticated by the President shall be evidence of the proceedings at the trial.

  1. TRIAL OF PRIESTS & DEACONS

(1) In the trial of Priests and Deacons in the Bishop’s Court, the President shall determine any question brought before him and give such decisions as the evidence before the Court justifies.

(2) The decision of the court together with the notes of evidence taken at trial shall be authenticated and forwarded by the President to the Bishop who shall accept the same and pass such sentence thereon as the Canons of the Church shall direct.

 

  1. HOW CHARGES ARE TO BE LAID

Any charge against a Priest or a Deacon of the Church must proceed from a Priest of the Church or from the Church-wardens of the Parish in which he is serving, or from three or more communicant members. The Bishop may also himself, if he shall see fit, order proceedings to be commenced against any Clergyman whose conduct he believes to have just cause for scandal or offence, and in such a case it shall be sufficient for one Presenter appointed by the Bishop to deliver the Articles of Presentment.

 

  1. BISHOP MAY VETO PROCEEDINGS

The Articles of Presentment shall be laid before the Bishop who shall decide, in the first instance, whether they are proper to be admitted or not. If the Bishop shall refuse either to institute an enquiry, or to proceed to try the accused, he shall intimate his refusal to the presenters in writing within thirty days after the receipt of the Articles of Presentment: and in such case it shall be competent for the presenters to apply to the Primate; or, if the Primate be the Bishop who refuses, to the Episcopal Synod through the Dean of the Church of Nigeria; and if the Primate or the Episcopal Synod think fit, he or they may require the Bishop to proceed: provided always that notice of intention to apply shall have been given in writing to the Bishop of the Diocese within twenty-one days after his refusal to act and that the application together with a copy of the Articles of Presentment, shall have been forwarded to the Primate or Dean of the Church of Nigeria within thirty days after receipt of the Bishop’s refusal.

 

  1. MANNER OF SERVING THE CHARGE

Notice of the intention to start proceedings, containing a statement of the charge and a copy of the information of which it is founded, shall be served upon the person accused, together with the names of those chosen to be assessors, thirty days at least before the hearing of the case.

 

  1. SUSPENSION PENDING TRIAL

Any Priest or Deacon within the Church of Nigeria if accused of immoral conduct, may be suspended from the exercise of ministerial duties by the Bishop should it appear to the Bishop to be necessary for the prevention of scandal: provided that a trial on the charge alleged shall take place as soon as possible.

 

  1. LICENSED PRIEST OR DEACON MAY CLAIM TRIAL IN BISHOP’S COURT

Any Priest or Deacon holding the licence of a Bishop may, if he so desires, have any charges which may be brought against him tried by the Bishop’s Court; and, if such charge be proved, the Bishop shall determine what sentence shall be sufficient, and there shall be no appeal if the sentence proceeds no further than the withdrawal of the licence.

 

  1. APPEAL TO CHURCH OF NIGERIA TRIBUNAL

If any Priest or Deacon against whom a judgment or sentence shall have been pronounced by any Bishop’s court shall feel aggrieved by such judgment or sentence, it shall be lawful for such person (except in such cases as are otherwise provided for in these Canons), to appeal to the Church of Nigeria Tribunal of Appeal: provided such appeal be notified in writing by the Appellant to the Bishop of the Diocese within thirty days after such judgment or sentence shall have been pronounced.

 

  1. CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA TRIBUNAL OF APPEALS

The Church of Nigeria Tribunal of Appeal (except as provided below) shall be the Episcopal Synod and the Primate (or if he is absent the Bishop acting under his commission) shall preside in this Tribunal. If the appeal is from the judgement or sentence of the court of the Primate himself, the Dean of the Church of Nigeria shall preside. The Primate, or the Dean as the case may be shall before the assembling of the Tribunal, nominate three Clerical Assessors, and he shall, except in charges of heresy, also appoint one or two persons as Lay Assessors as provided in these Canons.

 

  1. PRIMATE MAY HEAR CERTAIN APPEALS

In all cases not involving questions of Faith or Doctrine, except the appeal be from a judgment or sentence of the Court of the Primate himself, it shall be sufficient for the Primate along with Clerical and Lay Assessors (as provided above) to hear and decide the appeal unless the Primate himself judges it expedient to convene the meeting of the Episcopal Synod, or unless two Bishops of the Church shall request him to convene the meeting of the Episcopal Synod to hear and decide the appeal.

 

  1. WHEN JUDGES DISAGREE

If the judgment or sentence of a Bishop’s Court in question of Faith and Doctrine fail to be affirmed on appeal by reason of only two Bishops being present at the meeting of the Episcopal Synod and not agreeing as to the judgment or sentence, it shall be competent for the presenters, with the consent of the Bishop of the Diocese, to bring the case again before the Episcopal Synod, at its next meeting, on giving the notice required for appeals.

 

  1. NO APPEAL ON FACT

There shall be no appeal to the Church of Nigeria Tribunal of Appeal as regards the facts of any case, but only as to the Conclusion to be drawn from those facts which the Bishop’s Court shall determine to be proved. But it shall be competent for the Primate, on receiving the case on appeal, to direct that the case, as regards the facts that are charged, shall be reviewed by the Bishop’s Court.

 

  1. NO APPEAL WITHOUT LEAVE IN MINOR CASES

There shall be no appeal from a judgment or sentence for any offence for which no higher sentence than suspension for three months can be pronounced, except it be allowed by the Bishop’s Court or directed by the Primate.

 

  1. SUSPENSION OF SENTENCE

In case of an appeal to the Church of Nigeria Tribunal of Appeal sentence shall be suspended during the appeal, except in case of a sentence for immoral conduct or heresy.

 

  1. POWERS OF PROVINCIAL TRIBUNAL

The Church of Nigeria Tribunal of Appeal may affirm, modify, or amend the judgment or sentence appealed against, or pass any other judgment or sentence in the case, as it thinks just.

 

  1. CONDITIONS OF APPEAL GROUNDS

Every appellant from a judgment or sentence of a Bishop’s Court must within thirty days after the date of the judgment or sentence as the case may be, lodge with the Registrar of the court his grounds of appeal supported with reason and must give a bond, to be approved by the said Registrar to defray all necessary charges in prosecuting the appeal, and such costs as may be judged by the Court or Tribunal of Appeal.

 

  1. JUDICIAL SENTENCE

Any Priest or Deacon, found guilty after due trial, shall be subject to any of the following sentences:

(a) For False Teaching

For publicly and advisedly maintaining doctrines or opinions contrary to the teaching of the Church, unless he shall formally retract the same within fifteen days after a sentence is given,

(i) inhibition from preaching or suspension for a term not exceeding three years: provided that if at the expiration of any such sentence he shall refuse to abjure such doctrines or opinions, he shall thereupon be deprived; or

(ii) deprivation.

(b) For Willful Neglect in Conduct of Services

For refusing or willfully neglecting to use in public prayer and administration of the Sacraments and other Holy Offices the forms authorised under the fundamental principles of this

constitution: formal admonition or suspension for a term not exceeding twelve months; and further, until he shall have given an undertaking to conform in future.

(c) For refusal of Duty

For refusing, without good and sufficient reason, to perform for any member of the Church, belonging to his cure and not under the censure of the Church, any act appertaining to the ministerial office, formal admonition or suspension for a term not exceeding three months: and further, until he shall have given an undertaking to conform in future.

(d) For neglect of duty

For general neglect of duty, formal admonition by the Bishop or suspension for a term not exceeding twelve months; in addition he shall give an undertaking to conform in future.

(e) For immorality

For immoral conduct, suspension for a term not exceeding twelve months, or deprivation.

(f) For unbecoming Conduct

For scandalous conduct or offence unbecoming of a Clergyman, formal admonition or suspension for a term not exceeding six months: and in addition he shall have given undertaking to conform in future.

 

(g) For Disobedience

For willful contravention of any enactment of the General Synod or of the Diocesan Synod (in matters not otherwise provided for), or for refusal to obey lawful command

of his Ordinary, formal admonition or suspension for a term not exceeding six months; in addition, he shall give an undertaking to conform in future.

(h) Special Sentence

In addition to any of the above sentences, the Bishop may suspend the accused from receiving Holy Communion for such a period as he may determine.

(i) Heresy, Schism e.t.c

In case of Heresy, Schism, acceptance of membership in a religious body not in communion with the Church of Nigeria, Apostasy a sentence of excommunication

or deposition may be passed unless in the meantime the accused has publicly abjured, in which case a lesser sentence may be imposed.

 

  1. DEFINITIONS

The judicial sentence above mentioned shall be interpreted as follows –

(a) Formal Admonition

By a formal admonition is meant a written warning delivered either in public or in private, as the circumstances may seem to the Bishop to require.

(b) Suspension

Suspension means the removal of a Clergyman from a named charge or office for such period as may be determined in the sentence of suspension. No clergyman suspended, has, during the period of suspension, any claim to any salary, or office, and the sentence of suspension shall set forth whether he is deprived of all or any apart of such salary and allowances.

(c) Deprivation

Deprivation means the final removal of a Clergyman from a named charge or office.

(d) Withdrawal of Licence

A Bishop may at his discretion withdraw or not withdraw his licence from a clergyman who is suspended or deprived of his charge or office.

(e) Deposition

Deposition or permanent inhibition means the withdrawal from a clergyman of all power to exercise his sacred calling either publicly or privately within the Church of

Nigeria. A sentence of deposition shall of its own force cancel the licence of the deposed clergyman.

(f) Refusal to Abjure

By refusal to abjure is meant failure to deliver to the Bishop, or in the case of Bishop, to the Primate, within fourteen days after the expiration of a sentence of inhibition or suspension an abjuration in writing of the doctrine or opinions in respect of which he was found guilty and sentenced.

(g) Undertaking to conform

By giving an undertaking to conform is meant delivering to the Bishop, or in the case of a Bishop, to the Primate within fourteen days after the expiration of sentence of inhibition or suspension an undertaking in writing not to engage in or repeat the kind of conduct or offence for which he was found guilty and sentenced.

 

  1. MANNER OF PUBLISHING SENTENCES

All sentences and retractions shall be filed for record purposes. Sentence as of deprivation or excommunication and retractions shall also be published during Divine Service in the Cathedral of the Diocese and in the Church in which the offender habitually ministers and communicated to Bishops of the other Dioceses of the Church of Nigeria.

 

CANON XIVA

Of Discipline of Laity

  1. OFFENCES

The following shall be the offences for which a lay member of the Church may be disciplined –

(a) sexual immorality;

(b) conduct giving just cause for scandal or offence, which shall include the commission of any offence known to law and any acts which may bring the image of the Church into disrespect or disrepute;

(c) heresy or false doctrine;

(d) schism or acceptance of membership in a religious body not in communion with the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion);

(e) apostasy from Christian faith;

(f) violation of the Constitution, Canons and Resolutions of the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) or of the Constitution of any Diocese or acts calculated to subvert either or both Constitutions;

(g) refusal or failure to obey a directive given by the General Synod through the Primate or the Diocesan Bishop pursuant to powers conferred by virtue of the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria; and

(h) being a member of a secret society or cult, and failure or refusal to renounce membership of the same when required to do so by a Bishop.

 

  1. INVESTIGATION

(1) If a member of the Church is accused of an ecclesiastical offence, the complaint shall in the first instance be investigated by a Church Committee appointed by the Parish Council from outside its membership and the findings of such Committee shall be submitted in writing to the Vicar.

(2) The Vicar shall review the case and if he considers the offence to have been committed, shall submit his recommendation in writing to the Bishop through his Archdeacon within one month of the submission of the case to him.

  1. BISHOP

The Bishop, after such consultation as he may deem necessary, shall decide whether the alleged offender shall be subjected to any punishment and shall notify the Vicar and the Church Committee through the Archdeacon of his decision in writing before the lapse of two months from the receipt by him of the recommendation of the submission by the Vicar.

 

  1. PUNISHMENT

The punishment which the Bishop may administer to any member found guilty of an ecclesiastical offence shall be any of the following –

(a) ex-communication;

(b) removal from any office held in the Church or Diocese;

(c) disqualification from partaking of the Holy

Communion, or being nominated to Diocesan office, the Parish Church Council, or any office in the Church or in any Church Society either indefinitely or for such period as the Bishop shall think fit;

(d) if the offender be a Lay Reader, Catechist, Warden, Sides man, member of the Parish Church Council or Diocese, suspension from office either indefinitely or for such period as the Bishop shall think fit.

 

  1. DIOCESAN BOARD MEMBER

If any member of the Diocesan Board is alleged to have committed an ecclesiastical offence in relation to his duties as a Diocesan official, the Diocesan Bishop shall set up a committee which shall investigate the allegation against him and submit a report and recommendation to the Bishop. If the Bishop is satisfied that the allegation has been proved, the Bishop may impose any punishment prescribed in this Canon.

 

  1. REFERENCE BY BISHOP

The Bishop may at any time on his own initiative, if he has reasonable cause to believe that any offence specified herein may have been committed by any person, refer the matter to the Priest in charge of the Parish Church to which he belongs or at which he worships regularly or to a Committee of the Diocesan Board appointed by the Bishop. Thereafter, the provisions of Sections 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this Canon shall apply.

 

  1. STANDING COMMITTEE MEMBER

Where any member of the Standing Committee of the Church is accused of an offence under Section 1(g) above, the Standing Committee shall set up a Committee not exceeding three in number which shall investigate the allegation against him and submit a recommendation to the Primate who shall, if satisfied that the offence has been committed, impose any punishment prescribed in Section 4 hereof.

 

  1. APPEALS

(1) All appeals and correspondence as appropriate, shall be channelled through the Vicar, the Archdeacon, the Bishop, or the Provincial Archbishop to the Primate.

(2) The decision of the Primate shall be final.

 

 

CANON XV Of Services of the Church

  1. SERVICES OF THE CHURCH: POWER TO MAKE SERVICES ADAPTATIONS

The Episcopal Synod shall have power to make such adaptations and abridgements of, and addition to, the Services of the Church as may be required from time to time.

 

  1. DIOCESAN SERVICES

It shall not be permissible for a Diocesan Bishop to authorise for use in his Diocese any alterations in a Service approved by the Episcopal Synod unless the Episcopal Synod, or a body authorised by it for the purpose, has approved the alteration as suitable in itself, as being required by the conditions of the Diocese and as not introducing any difference of substance. He shall not authorise for use in his Diocese any Liturgical Services or Occasional Offices or any adaptations, abridgements or additions in such Services unless the Episcopal Synod or a body authorised by it for the purpose, has approved the Services or alteration. The Diocesan Bishop shall, subject to the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria, have freedom to authorise services for special occasions in his Diocese, and for occasions not otherwise provided for.

 

  1. TEMPORARY EXPERIMENT

Notwithstanding the regulations contained in the foregoing section, it shall be permissible for a Diocesan Bishop after consultation with the House of Clergy and his diocesan Synod and with the approval of the Episcopal Synod, to authorise for a period not exceeding two years such experimental adaptations, abridgements, or additions to any Liturgical Services or Occasional Offices as he may think fit: provided that such experimental adaptations, abridgements, or additions shall not continue to be authorised beyond the said period of two years without the approval of the Episcopal Synod or a body authorised by it for the purpose.

 

 

CANON XVI Of Declarations and Subscriptions

  1. DECLARATION OF SUBMISSION

No one shall be admitted to any office in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), nor shall he be entitled to receive any income, emoluments or benefit from or out of any property held under the authority of the General Synod, unless he shall have signed a declaration, according to the form, if any, prescribed by the General Synod, of submission to the regulations of the Church of Nigeria relating to such office: provided that the General Synod may dispense with this requirement in the case of particular officers.

 

  1. DECLARATION BY BISHOP-ELECT AND DECLARATION BY CLERGY

The following Declarations shall be made and subscribed before the Primate, or some person duly appointed by him, by all Bishops-Elect of the Church of Nigeria, and before the Bishop by persons to be admitted to Holy Orders, and by all Priests and Deacons to be admitted to any office in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion):

 

(i) The Declaration of Belief

 

I…………………………………………………………………………now to be ordained Deacon/Priest/Bishop do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the truth which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creed and to which the historic formularies of the Church of Nigeria bear witness: and in public prayer and administration of the Sacraments. I will use only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by Canons.

 

(ii) The Declaration of Submission to Synod

 

I do also declare that I consent to be bound by the regulations of the Diocese/Church of Nigeria and Canons which have been made, or which may hereafter be made by the Diocesan/Church of Nigeria Synod or may otherwise have lawful effect in the Diocese/Church of Nigeria.

 

(iii) The Oath of Canonical Obedience

 

(The Deacons/Priests/Bishop holding the Bible in uplifted right

hand will say):

 

I ……………………………………………………………………………. do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Bishop of……………………………………..Diocese/Primate of the Church of Nigeria and his successors in all things lawful and honest.

 

(iv) The Oath of Submission

And I hereby undertake to accept and immediately submit to any sentence depriving me of any or all the rights and emoluments appertaining to the office of Deacon/Priest/Bishop, which may at any time be passed upon me after due examination by the Bishop/Primate acting under the constitution of the Diocese of Nigeria.

I agree to exercise the said office of Deacon/Priest/Bishop so long as may be required of me by the Bishop of………………… Diocese/Primate and his successors. So help me God. Amen. (The Deacons/Priests/Bishops touch their forehead with the Bible).

 

  1. ADMISSION OF FOREIGN CLERGY MAN

No person ordained by a foreign Bishop, or by a Bishop not in communion with this Church shall be permitted to officiate as a Minister of this church until he shall have complied with the Canon or Canons in that case provided and also shall have subscribed the aforesaid declaration.

 

  1. SECRET SOCIETY OR CULT

No person shall be admitted to any office in the Church of Nigeria unless he subscribes to the following declaration before the Primate or the Bishop of a Diocese, when required so to do, renouncing or denouncing membership of secret cults or societies as defined in this Canon –

 

The Oath of Allegiance to God

I, ……………………………………………………………………….confess before God and His Church that I have never been a member of any secret cult. I also vow that I will never join any secret cult; that I owe allegiance to no other but to the Lord Jesus Christ: and that my loyalty to Him will always be absolute, total and undivided. If I go back on this oath and vow, I put myself under the wrath of God, in the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

OR

I, ………………………………………………………………………. confess before God and His Church that I was once a member of a secret cult. I confess that I have renounced my membership of it. I also vow before God and His Church that I will never again join any secret cult: as from now on, my allegiance will always be to no other but to the Lord Jesus Christ: and that my loyalty to Him will always be absolute, total, and undivided. If I go back on this oath and vow, I put myself under the wrath of God, in the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

  1. DEFINITION OF SECRET SOCIETY

 

A secret society or cult is any organisation –

(i) whose membership is kept secret by reason of the deliberate policy of the said organisation;

(ii) which performs any secret ceremony or rite during the initiation of members;

(iii) which binds its members by an oath of secrecy not prescribed by law;

(iv) which uses secret signals, signs, language or incantations;

(v) which performs any secret ceremony or rite during its proceedings;

(vi) which performs any secret ritual on or over the corpse of a deceased member before, during or after burial;

(vii) which has been declared to be a secret society or cult under any existing law in Nigeria; and/or

(viii) which the Primate with the approval of General Synod has declared to be a secret society or cult.

 

 

CANON XVII Of Marriage

  1. MARRIAGE

The Church believes that Marriage, by Divine institution is a lifelong and exclusive union and partnership between one man and one woman. Its law and regulations are based upon this belief.

 

  1. OF THE RITE OF THE CHURCH

(1) Solemnization of Holy Matrimony by the Rites of the Church is reserved to those who are baptized unless in the case of a marriage proposed between a baptized person and an unbaptized person, a dispensation be granted by the Bishop;

(2) If such a dispensation is to be granted, the Bishop must first be satisfied:

(a) that both parties to the proposed marriage recognise that the marriage will be Christian marriage, identical in status to a marriage between baptised persons.

(b) that the unbaptized person intends to live with the baptized person according to the Christian law of marriage.

(c) that both parties to the proposed marriage intend and will give an undertaking that any children resulting from the marriage shall be baptized and brought up as Christians.

(3) The Form of solemnization of Holy Matrimony shall not be used in the case of a proposed marriage in which either of the parties shall have been married by Christian Rites or by another form of marriage recognised by the Church to a person or person still living except by permission of the Bishop in terms of Sub-Section (4) below:

(4) (a) Any member whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court of competent jurisdiction and who desires to contract another union, or any member who desires to contract a union with one whose previous marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court of competent jurisdiction or by a recognised authority or in a recognised manner shall, if he or she desires to have such a union solemnized by the Rites of the Church during the life time of a former partner, apply to the Bishop for judgement;

(b) The Bishop, with the concurrence of the majority of two or more assessors sitting together or by correspondence with one or more of them shall issue a judgement to the applicant which shall grant or withhold permission for such solemnization.

(c) The assessors shall include:

(i) the Archdeacon of the Archdeaconry in which one or other of the parties resides; and

(ii) the Chancellor or Registrar of the Diocese or some other Communicant Member learned in the law.

(d) No case shall be considered until at least one year after the final dissolution of the former marriage.

(e) Applications shall be made to the Bishop not less than three calendar months before the date of the contemplated marriage.

(f) Before a favourable judgement is rendered, the Bishop, and a majority of the Assessors shall be satisfied:

(i) that both parties are baptized:

(ii) that no facts exist which make the proposed marriage bigamous:

(iii) that both parties do intend a Christian marriage: and either

(iv) that one or more of the facts set forth in Section 6 hereunder are shown to have

existed in the previous relationship of him or her whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved which manifestly establish that no marriage bond as is recognised by the Church exists; or

(v) that such defects of personality shall have been shown to exist as to have made the continuance of the marriage impossible.

(g) No such judgement shall be construed as reflecting in any way upon the legitimacy of children or the civil validity of the former relationship;

(h) Every judgement rendered under this Canon shall be in writing and a copy shall be lodged in the Diocesan Registry;

(i) Any person in whose favour a judgement has been granted under the provisions of this Canon may be married by a Clergyman of the Diocese in which the judgement is given. If the marriage is proposed to be solemnized in another Diocese than the one in which the Judgement is given, the said judgement shall have been previously submitted to and approved by the Bishop of that Diocese.

 

  1. OF MARRIAGE UNDER NON-CHRISTIAN LAW

(1) Where two baptized persons are living together as man and wife, their union not having been solemnized by the Rites of the Church, the Bishop may at his discretion give permission for one or both of the persons to be presented for Confirmation and/or admitted to Holy communion; provided that the Bishop shall first be satisfied inter alia , that the persons have been married under native customary law or under some other generally accepted law and that they are without other partners.

(2) Where two persons living together as man and wife under native Customary law or any other generally accepted law and without other partners, are admitted to Holy Baptism, their marriage is ipso facto raised to the status of Christian Marriage. The Church shall formally recognise this fact by bestowing upon it a form of blessing.

(3) A marriage contracted by non-Christians is not raised to the status of Christian Marriage by the Baptism of one of the partners only. If after such baptism the unbaptised partner is unwilling to remain peacefully and without offence to God with the baptized partner without seeking to induce him or her to break any Christian Law or prevent the baptism and Christian upbringing of the children, it is possible for the baptized partner to take advantage of the “Privilegium Paulinum” (I Corinthians VII:12-16). If this course is desired, application shall be made to the Bishop, who shall satisfy himself by direct approach to the unbaptized partner that such unwillingness exists. If he be satisfied of it, the Bishop may on the dissolution of the marriage permit the baptized partner to contract a new and Christian marriage. Until the former marriage is dissolved, the baptised partner may follow his or her conscience in regard to cohabitation.

(4) Where local practice in regard to marriage is not repugnant to Christian Doctrine or Law, observance of such practice by two persons desiring to be married by the Rites of the Church shall not constitute a reason for refusing such Rites to them nor shall it be held in disrepute by the Church, provided that the Priest who solemnizes the marriage shall be satisfied that both the persons are conversant with the principles of Christian Marriage and they intend that their marriage shall be monogamous and indissoluble. In case of any doubt as to whether any local practice is repugnant to Christian Doctrine or Law, the ruling of the Bishop shall be final.

(5) The inclusion of the English law of Inheritance shall not of necessity be required as a condition of the solemnization of a marriage: Nevertheless, it is the duty of the husband to ensure that at his death adequate provision is made for his widow and children from his estate.

(6) Marriages under this Canon may not be solemnized without the prior publication of Banns of Marriage on three successive Sundays at the Church or Churches at which the parties customarily attend Divine Service and no impediment be declared. Publication of Banns shall not be necessary in the case of a blessing under Section 3(2) of this Canon. If not in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Law, such marriages shall be recorded in a Register to be kept for the purpose.

  1. OF POLYGAMISTS

(1) Unless under exceptional circumstances and with the direct permission of the Bishop given in writing, no man living as a polygamist shall be admitted to Holy Baptism; a baptized person who becomes a polygamist shall not be admitted to Confirmation or Holy Communion.

 

(2) The wives of a polygamist may, subject to the provisions of Section 5(5) of this Canon be admitted to Holy Baptism and shall not be precluded from Confirmation and Holy Communion solely on account of such marital circumstances.

  1. MISCELLANEOUS RULES

(1) A Communicant Member of the Church who marries a non-Christian, except it be within the terms and conditions of Section 2(2) of this Canon shall be suspended from the reception of Holy Communion until such time as, in the discretion of the Bishop, he or she shall be restored thereto, or until such time as the non-Christian partner shall have been baptized and all other conditions contained in this Canon relevant to such a case have been fulfilled; such restoration to Holy Communion shall not include the remaining privileges of Communicant status until the non-Christian partner shall have been baptized;

(2) A communicant member of the Church who, having obtained a divorce, contracts a new union except as provided in Section 2(4) of this Canon shall automatically be suspended from the reception of Holy Communion;

(3) Confirmed members of the Church who are living together as man and wife under native customary law or other generally accepted law and without other partners but who are not eligible to be married by the Rites of the Church during the lifetime of a former partner may nevertheless, at the discretion of the Bishop be readmitted to Holy Communion; such readmission shall not be permissible until this union shall have proved stable and in any case not within a period of twelve months from the date of the remarriage.

(4) Baptized persons who are living with one partner alone to the exclusion of all others and who intend this union to be monogamous and indissoluble but are not eligible to be married by the Rites of the Church during the lifetime of a former partner may not be presented to the Bishop to be confirmed without special reference to the Bishop before the commencement of preparation for Confirmation;

(5) A baptized member of the Church who marries a polygamist shall not be eligible for Confirmation; a communicant member who marries a polygamist shall be suspended from Holy Communion as long as such a union shall exist, unless under exceptional circumstances the permission of the Bishop in writing shall have first been obtained for Confirmation or restoration to Holy Communion as the case may be.

  1. IMPEDIMENTS

The following shall be impediments to the solemnization of Holy Matrimony which, should the marriage have been contracted, may be grounds for Nullity in the Church.

 

(1) Marriage within the prohibited degrees as set out in the Book of Common Prayer 1662, as amended in 1946, or the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Nigeria, and such other degrees of relationship as are normally prohibited by local or tribal custom;

(2) Mistake as to the identity of either party;

(3) Lack of freewill and competent consent on the part of either (including fraud, duress, mental deficiency, insanity);

(4) Impotence or sexual perversion; and

(5) Bigamy.

 

CANON XVIII Of Training of Priests

Subject to such exemptions and variations as may be specifically permitted by a Bishop within his Diocese, the normal training required of a Priest of this Church shall be as follows –

(a) he shall pass through a period of not less than one year and not more than three years as a postulant;

(b) he shall undergo a formal training in an approved theological Institution for a minimum period of three years leading to a degree or a diploma in Theology;

(c) where the postulant already has a degree in another discipline from an approved Institution, he shall need only two years formal training in a Theological Institution.

 

CANON XIX  Of Membership

  1. The membership of the Church of Nigeria shall be open to all persons who accept the aims and objectives and the doctrines of the Church as contained in the Constitution of the Church and in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.
  2. No person shall be considered a member of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) unless he is accepted as a member by one of the Dioceses of the Church in compliance with the Constitution of the said Diocese.
  3. In accordance with the doctrines of the Church of Nigeria and/or the Constitution of a Diocese, a member shall be baptized, and may in addition be confirmed or unconfirmed, married or unmarried, financial or non-financial.
  4. No person shall be a member of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and at the same time a member of any other religion or faith or secret society or cult.
  5. Any member of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) who forms another Church, or joins another Church not in communion with the Anglican Church or espouses another religion, or denounces or renounces the doctrines of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) shall be deemed to have ceased to be a member of the Church of Nigeria and his membership shall terminate accordingly.
  6. Every member shall be entitled to a certificate of membership signed by the Vicar of his church and countersigned by the Bishop of the Diocese to which he belongs, upon the payment of such fees as may be prescribed by the Diocesan Synod.
  7. No member shall be entitled to a share of church property or funds, or to the continued ownership, possession or use of church buildings or facilities upon ceasing to be a member of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
  8. For the avoidance of doubt, title to all movable and immovable property of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) shall remain vested in the relevant registered body of trustees of the Church, notwithstanding the cessation of the membership of any person.

 

CANON XX Of Translation of Bishops

  1. The Episcopal Synod shall have power to translate a Bishop from one Diocese to another as prescribed by this Canon.
  2. When a Diocese is vacant, and the Advisory Committee of the Diocese has submitted its recommendations to the Primate, the Episcopal Synod may translate a Bishop to the vacant See by a simple majority of members present and voting.
  3. When the Episcopal Synod is informed that it is desirable to translate a Bishop in the interest of the Church, the said Bishop shall be given reasonable opportunity to express his views, and –

(a) he may be translated to a vacant See by a simple majority if he accepts the translation voluntarily after the Advisory Committee has been fully consulted; or

(b) he may be compulsorily translated by two-thirds majority. In the event of a Bishop rejecting his compulsory translation under this Canon, he shall be deemed to have retired and the provisions relating to the compulsory retirement of a Bishop shall apply.