Ancient Epitome of Canon III.
Priests who shall have contracted second marriages and will not give them up are to be deposed. But those who leave off the wickedness, let them cease for a fixed period. For he that is himself wounded does not bless. But who are implicated in nefarious marriage and who after ordination have contracted marriage, after a definite time they shall be restored to their grade, provided they remain without offence, having plainly broken off the marriage. But if after it shall have been prohibited by this decree they attempt to do so they shall remain deposed.
What things pertain to this third canon are only adapted to the time in which the canon was passed; and afterwards are of no force at all. But what things the Fathers wished to be binding on posterity are contained in the seventeenth and eighteenth canons of the holy Apostles, which as having been neglected during the course of time this synod wished to renew.
It is clear from this canon that the Emperor very especially intended that the indulgence which the Church of Constantinople extended to its presbyters and deacons in allowing them the use of marriage entered into before ordination, should not be allowed to go any further, nor to be an occasion for the violation of that truly Apostolic canon, "The bishop, the presbyter, and the deacon must be the husband of one wife." I Tim. iii.2.
For never did the Constantinopolitan nor any other Eastern Church allow by canon a digamist (or a man successively the husband of many wives) to be advanced to the order of presbyter or deacon, or to use any second marriage.
(Tentativa Theologica. [Eng. trans.] III. Principle, p.79.)
In the same manner a second marriage always, and everywhere, incapacitated the clergy for Holy Orders and the Episcopate. This appears from St. Paul, 1 Tim. Chap. iii., and Titus, Chap. i., and it was expressly enacted by the sixteenth of the Apostolical Canons, renewed by the Popes Siricius, Innocent and Leo the Great, and may be gathered from the ancient fathers and councils generally received in the Church.
Nevertheless we know from Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, that many bishops remarkable for their learning and sanctity, frequently dispensed with this Apostolical law; as Alexander of Antioch, Acacius of Berea, Praylius of Jerusalem, Proclus of Constantinople, and others, by whose example Theodoret defends his own conduct in the case of Irenæus, in ordaining him Archbishop of Tyre, although he had been twice married. But what is more surprising in this matter is that, notwithstanding the eleventh Decretal of Siricius, and the twelfth of Innocentius the First, that they who had either been twice married, or had married widows, were incapable of ordination, and ought to be deposed; the Council of Toledo, Canon 3, and the First Council of Orange, Canon 25, both dispensed with these Pontifical laws. The first, in order that those who had married widows might remain in holy orders; the second, that such as had twice married might be promoted to the order of subdeacon. Socrates also observes that although it was a general law not to admit catechumens to orders, the bishops of Alexandria were in the habit of promoting such to the order of readers and singers.
(H. E., Liv. XL., chap.1.)
These canons of the Council of Trullo have served ever since to the Greeks and to all the Christians of the East as the universal rule with regard to clerical continence, and they have been now in full force for a thousand years. That is to say, It is not permitted to men who are clerics in Holy Orders to marry after their ordination. Bishops must keep perfect continence, whether before their consecration they are married or not. Priests, deacons, and subdeacons already married can keep their wives and live with them, except on the days they are to approach the holy mysteries.