By: Protodeacon David Kennedy
This is the last reference to Footnote 21.
Fourth Council of Constantinople — 869-870, Canon 26
A cleric who has been deposed or suffered an injustice at the hands of his bishop, has the right to take his case to the highest authorities in the catholic church, namely the supreme pontiffs
This holy synod has also decided that any priest or deacon who has been deposed by his bishop for some crime, or who alleges he has suffered some kind of injustice and is not satisfied with the judgment of his bishop, saying that he does not trust him and that he has been wronged, either because of the enmity which the bishop has for him or because of favors the bishop wants to bestow on certain others, such a person has the right to have recourse to the metropolitan of his province and to denounce his deposition from office, which he thinks is unjust, or any other injury. The metropolitan should be willing to take up such cases and to summon the bishop who has deposed the cleric or injured him in any way. He should examine the case himself, with the help of other bishops, so as either to confirm the deposition of the cleric beyond all doubt, or to quash it by means of a general synod and the judgment of many persons.
In the same way we decree that bishops may have recourse to the patriarch, their head, if they complain that they have suffered similar things from their metropolitan, so that the business in question may receive a just and right decision from their patriarch and the metropolitans under him. No metropolitan bishop may be judged by his neighboring metropolitan bishops, even though it is alleged that he has committed serious crimes, but he many only be judged by his own patriarch; we decree that his judgment will be just and beyond suspicion because a number of esteemed people will be gathered around the patriarch, and for this reason his judgment will be fully ratified and confirmed. If anyone does not agree with what we have promulgated, let him be excommunicated.
(Benedict XVI, Bishop Emeritus of Rome & Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople)
The above canon is clear; it is a procedural address to injustices incurred by clerics from their hierarchical superiors. It does raise a question for those deacons and presbyters who are incardinated into the eparchy/diocese of the head of a Church sui iuris. To whom does a deacon in the Diocese of Roman appeal if he believes his bishop has treated him unjustly?