What is an Anathema?

by St. Theophan the Recluse

Rarely does the Rite of Orthodoxy, which is now being performed, take place without censures and reproaches on somebody’s part. And no matter how many sermons are given explaining that the Church here acts wisely for the salvation of her children — still the malcontents just keep repeating their line. Either they do not listen to the sermons, or these sermons do not strike home as regards the latters’ perplexities, or perhaps they have formed their own conception of this rite and do not want to abandon it, no matter what you tell them.

To some people our anathemas seem inhumane, to others constricting. Such charges might be valid in other situations, but there is no way they can apply to our Rite of Orthodoxy. I will clarify for you briefly why the Church acts thus, and I think you yourselves will agree with me that in so doing, the Church acts wisely.

What is the holy Church? It is a society of believers, united among themselves by a unity of confession of divinely revealed truths, by a unity of sanctification by divinely established Mysteries, and by a unity of government and guidance by God-given shepherds. The oneness of confession, sanctification, and administration constitutes the rule of this society, which is obligatory for anyone who joins it. Membership in this society is contingent upon accepting this rule and agreeing with it; remaining in this society is contingent upon fulfilling it. Let us see how the holy Church grew and how it continues to grow. The preachers preach. Some of the listeners do not accept the preaching and leave; others accept it and as a result of accepting it are sanctified by the holy Mysteries, follow the guidance of the shepherds, and thus are incorporated into the holy Church — they are churched. That is how all the Church’s members enter her. In entering her, they are mingled with all her members, they are united with them, and they remain in the Church only as long as they continue to be one with them all.

From this simple indication regarding how the Church is formed, you can see that as a society, the holy Church came to be and continues to exist just like any other society. And so regard it as you would any other, and do not deprive it of the rights belonging to any society. Let us take, for example, a temperance society. It has rules which every member must fulfill. And each of its members is a member precisely because he accepts and abides by its rules. Now suppose that some member not only refuses to abide by the rules but also holds many views completely opposed to those of the society and even rises up against its very goal. He not only does not himself observe temperance but even reviles temperance itself and disseminates notions which might tempt others and deflect them from temperance. What does the society ordinarily do with such people?

First it admonishes them, and then it expels them. There you have an anathema! No one protests this, no one reproaches the society for being inhuman. Everyone acknowledges that the society is acting in a perfectly legitimate manner and that if it were to act otherwise, it could not exist.

So what is there to reproach the holy Church for when she acts likewise? After all, an anathema is precisely separation from the Church, or the exclusion from her midst of those who do not fulfill the conditions of unity with her and begin to think differently from the way she does, differently from the way they themselves promised to think upon joining her. Recollect how it happened! Arius appeared, who held impious opinions concerning Christ the Savior, so that with these notions he distorted the very act of our salvation. What was done with him? First he was admonished, and admonished many times by every persuasive and touching means possible.

But since he stubbornly insisted upon his opinion, he was condemned and excommunicated from the Church — that is, he is expelled from our society. Beware, have no communion with him and those like him. Do not yourselves hold such opinions, and do not listen to or receive those who do. Thus did the holy Church do with Arius; thus has she done with all other heretics; and thus will she do now, too, if someone appears somewhere with impious opinions. So tell me, what is blameworthy here? What else could the holy Church do? And could she continue to exist if she did not employ such strictness and warn her children with such solicitude about those who might corrupt and destroy them?

Let us see — what false teachings and what false teachers are excommunicated? Those who deny the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, divine providence; those who do not confess the all-holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the One God; those who do not acknowledge the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and our redemption by His death on the Cross; those who reject the grace of the Holy Spirit and the divine Mysteries which bestow it, and so forth.

Do you see what manner of issues they touch upon? These are issues which are the very reason the holy Church is the Church, principles upon which she is founded and without which she could not be that which she is. Therefore those who rise up against such truths are to the Church what those who make attempts against our lives and our property are to us in our daily life. Robbers and thieves, after all, are nowhere permitted to carry on freely and go unpunished!

And when they are bound and handed over to the law and to punishment, no one considers this to be inhumane or a violation of freedom. On the contrary, people see in this very thing both an act of love for man and a safeguard for freedom — with regard to all the members of society. If you judge thus here, judge thus also concerning the society of the Church. These false teachers, just like thieves and robbers, plunder the property of the holy Church and of God, corrupting her children and destroying them.

Does the holy Church really err in judging them, binding them, and casting them out? And would it really be love for man if she regarded the actions of such people with indifference and left them at liberty to destroy everyone else? Would a mother permit a snake to freely crawl up to and bite her little child, who does not understand the danger? If some immoral person were to gain access to your family and begin tempting your daughter, or your son — would you be able to regard their actions and their speeches with indifference? Fearing to gain a reputation for being inhumane and old- fashioned, would you tie your own hands? Would you not push such a person out the door and close it against them forever?! You should view the actions of the holy Church in the same way. She sees that individuals of corrupt mind appear, and corrupt others — and she rises up against them, drives them away, and calls out to all those who are her own: Beware — so-and-so and such-and-such people wish to destroy your souls. Do not listen to them; flee from them. Thus she fulfills the duty of motherly love, and therefore acts lovingly — or as you put it, humanely.

At the present time, we have a proliferation of nihilists, spiritists and other pernicious clever ones who are carried away with the false teachers of the West. Do you really think that our holy Church would keep silence and not raise her voice to condemn and anathematize them, if their destructive teachings were something new? By no means. A council would be held, and in council all of them with their teachings would be given over to anathema, and to the current Rite of Orthodoxy there would be appended an additional item: To Feyerbach, Buchner, and Renan, to the spiritists, and to all their followers — to the nihilists – – be anathema. But there is no need for such a council, and there is no need either for such an addition.

Their false teachings have already all been anathematized in advance in those points where anathema is pronounced to those who deny the existence of God, the spirituality and immortality of the soul, the teachings concerning the all-holy Trinity and concerning the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you not see with what wisdom and foresight the holy Church acts when she makes us perform the present proclamation and listen to it?

And yet they say, “This is outdated.” It is precisely now that it is relevant. Perhaps 100 years ago it was not relevant. But one must say concerning our time, that if a Rite of Orthodoxy did not as yet exist, it would be needful to introduce one, and to perform it not only in the capital cities but in all places and in all churches: in order to collect all the evil teachings opposed to the Word of God, and to make them known to all, in order that all might know what they need to beware of and what kind of teachings to avoid. Many are corrupted in mind solely due to ignorance, whereas a public condemnation of ruinous teachings would save them from perdition.

Thus, the Church excommunicates, expels from her midst (when it is said, “Anathema to so-and-so”, that means the same thing as, “So-and-so: out of here”), or anathematizes for the same reason that any society does so. And she is obliged to do this in self-preservation and to preserve her children from destruction. Therefore there is nothing blameworthy or incomprehensible about this present Rite. If anyone fears the act of anathema, let him avoid the teachings which cause one to fall under it. If anyone fears it for others, let him restore him to sound teaching. If you are Orthodox and yet you are not well disposed toward this act, then you are found to be contradicting yourself.

But if you have already abandoned sound doctrine, then what business is it of yours what is done in the Church by those who maintain it? By the very fact that you have conceived a different view of things than that which is maintained in the Church, you have already separated yourself from the Church. It is not inscription in the baptismal records which makes one a member of the Church, but the spirit and content of one’s opinions.

Whether your teaching and your name are pronounced as being under anathema or not, you already fall under it when your opinions are opposed to those of the Church, and when you persist in them. Fearful is the anathema. Leave off your evil opinions. Amen.

 

Source

The Synodikon of Orthodoxy

Our thanks to John Sanidopoulos for his blog, Mystagogy, from which this post was taken, who continues to provide a wealth of excellent articles on the Orthodox faith.
Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).
The term synodikon is applied to an official definition promulgated by a synod or council, or to a statement which has synodical origin or conciliar authority. The present synodicon was approved and issued by the Council of 843 which restored the veneration of icons, i.e., it upheld and re-imposed the authority of the Seventh Ecumenical Council which had fallen into abeyance during the intervening second period of Iconoclasm (815-842). In the manuscripts, the titles are various:
  • The Synodikon of Orthodoxy,
  • The Synodikon Confirming Orthodoxy Read on the First Sunday of Great Lent,
  • The Synodikon Confirming Orthodoxy,
  • The Synodikon Against All Heresy,
  • and different combinations of all the above.
In the printed Triodion, the synodicon is titled The Synodikon of the Holy and Ecumenical Seventh Council for Orthodoxy. Although not entirely correct, we have retained it because the Council of 843 did not form any new definitions, but was concerned to proclaim again the authority of the Seventh Council and to re-establish the definition of the Faith propounded there.
For an introduction to the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, I highly recommend this piece by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos.

SYNODIKON OF THE HOLY AND ECUMENICAL SEVENTH COUNCIL FOR ORTHODOXY

We have received from the Church of God, that upon this day we owe yearly thanksgiving to God along with an exposition of the dogmas of piety and the overturning of the impieties of evil. Following therefore the sayings of the prophets, honoring the exhortations of the apostles, and being instructed by the histories of the Gospels, we celebrate this day of consecration. For Isaiah says: “Be consecrated to God, ye islands,” intimating the churches from the nations. The churches being not simply the edifices and the embellishments of the temples, but rather the congregation of the pious, therein and those who there serve the Divinity with hymns and doxologies. The Apostle advises the same thing, exhorting us, “to walk in newness of life” and that the “new creation in Christ” be renewed. So too, the oracles of the Lord prophesied our condition. “The consecration,” they say, “was in Jerusalem, and it was winter”; that is, either a spiritual winter because of the storms of bloody murder and tumult which the nation of the Jews raised against our common Saviour, or that winter which troubles the bodily senses by making the air colder. For indeed, there came upon us a winter, not an ordinary one, but one of truly great evil, brimming over with harshness; but there blossomed forth the first season, the spring of God’s grace, in which we have come together to give thanks for the harvest of good things, or as we would say from the Psalms, “Summer and spring hast Thou fashioned, be mindful of this Thy creation.” For verily, those enemies who reproached the Lord and utterly dishonored His holy worship in the holy icons, were both arrogant and high-minded in impieties, and were cast down by the God of marvels, and He leveled to the ground their insolent apostasy.

Nor did He overlook the voice of those crying to Him: “Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Thy servant which I have endured in my bosom from many nations; wherewith Thine enemies have reproached, O Lord, wherewith they have reproached the recompense of Thy Christ.” The recompense of Christ is those who have been purchased by His death and who have believed in Him, both by the preaching of the word and by the representation in icons, whereby the redeemed know the great work of His Economy, both the Cross and all His sufferings, and miracles both before the Cross and after it; from which the imitation of His sufferings passes over unto the apostles and thence to the martyrs, and descending from them to the confessors and ascetics. This reproach wherewith the enemies of the Lord reproached, where with they reproached the recompense of His Christ, was remembered by God, Who was besought by His own compassion, and Who yielded to the prayers of His Mother, and moreover His apostles and all His saints who, with Him, were rendered of no account by the insolent defamation of the holy icons, so that even as the saints suffered in the flesh, so might they, as it were, suffer with Him the insults directed against the holy icons. God then wrought later that which had been counseled today, and He subsequently brought about that which He had previously performed; previously, because after many years during which the holy icons were spurned and dishonored, He re-established true piety. But now, for a second time, after a short thirty years of harassment, He has delivered us unworthy ones from adversity, redeeming us from those who afflicted us, and establishing the free proclamation of piety, the steadfastness of the worship of icons, and this Festival which brings all of us salvation. For in the icons we see the sufferings of our Master for us – the Cross, the grave, Hades slain and pillaged – the contests of the martyrs, the crowns, that very salvation which our First Prize-giver and Contest-master and Crown-bearer wrought in the midst of the earth. This festival we celebrate today; we rejoice together and are glad with prayers and supplicatory processions, and we cry out with psalms and hymns:

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What God is as great as our God? Thou art our God, who alone worketh wonders.

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For Thou didst put to scorn those who slighted Thy Glory, and didst show forth as cowards and fugitives those who were audacious and impudent against the icons.

But thanksgiving unto God and the Master’s trophy of victory against the adversaries is proper here; as for the contests and struggles against the iconoclasts, another discourse written more fully will declare them. Therefore, as a kind of rest after the desert sojourn, on the journey to reach the noetic Jerusalem, and not only in imitation of Moses, but also in obedience to the Divine Command, we considered it right as well as obligatory to inscribe on the hearts of our brethren, as on a pillar constructed of large fitted stones smoothed for the reception of inscriptions, both the blessings which are due to those who keep the law, and also the curses under which transgressors put themselves. Wherefore we say thus:

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To them who confess with word, mouth, heart, and mind, and with both writing and icons the incarnate advent of God the Word,

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To them who acknowledge in Christ one Hypostasis, with different essences, and attribute to the one Hypostasis both the created and uncreated, the visible and invisible, the passible and impassible, the circumscribable and uncircumscribable; and then who apply on the one hand, to the Divine essence uncreatedness and the like, and, on the other hand, acknowledge with word and icons that the human nature has the other attributes accompanying circumscription,

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To them who believe and preach, that is proclaim, doctrines by means of writings and deeds by means of forms, and link them in a single proclamation, whereby the truth is affirmed in word and icon,

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To them who with words sanctify their lips, and their hearers by means of those words, and who both know and preach that the eyes of the beholders are similarly sanctified through them, the mind is lifted to God-knowledge, as well as by the divine temples also, the sacred vessels, and the other precious ornaments,

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To them who understand that the rod and the tablets, the ark and the lampstand, and the table and the censer, from aforetime depicted and prefigured the All-Holy Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, and that these things prefigured her and not that she became these things; for she was born a maiden and remained a virgin after giving birth to God, and that for this reason she is represented as a maiden in the icons rather than obscurely depicted by types,

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To them who know and accept and believe concerning those things which the choir of the prophets saw, and narrated, that the Divinity Himself formed and imprinted these prophetic visions, and to those who hold fast by the venerable icons, and that hold fast both the written and unwritten tradition which extends from the apostles to the fathers, and who for this cause depict and honor holy things in icons,

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To them who understand Moses saying, “Take heed to yourselves, that in the day when the Lord God spoke in Horeb on the mountain, ye heard the sound of words, but ye saw no likeness” and who know to answer correctly that if we saw anything, truly did we see it, as the son of thunder has taught us, “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and which our hands have touched, concerning the Word of life, to these things do we bear witness”; and again as the other disciples of the Word say, “that we both ate with Him and drank with Him, not only before the Passion, but even after the Passion and Resurrection”; to those therefore, who have been strengthened by God to distinguish between the commandment in the Law and the teaching which came with Grace, and between that which was invisible in the former, but both visible and tangible in the latter, and who for this cause depict and worship in icons these visible and tangible realities,

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As the prophets have seen, as the apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the teachers have set forth in dogmas, as the whole world has understood, as Grace has shone forth, as the truth was demonstrated, as falsehood was banished, as wisdom was emboldened, as Christ has awarded; thus do we believe, thus we speak, thus we preach Christ our true God and His saints, honoring them in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in temples, and in icons, worshipping and respecting the One as God and Master, and honoring the others, and apportioning relative worship to them, because of our common Master for they are His genuine servants,

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This is the Faith of the apostles, this is the Faith of the fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this Faith hath established the whole world.

WE NOW TAKE OCCASION TO ACCLAIM FRATERNALLY AND WITH FILIAL AFFECTION THE PREACHERS OF PIETY UNTO THE GLORY AND HONOR OF GODLINESS, FOR WHICH THEY STRUGGLED, AND, WE SAY,

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To Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus and Methodius who are truly high priests of God and champions and teachers of Orthodoxy,

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To Ignatius, Photios, Stephen, Anthony, and Nicholas the most holy and Orthodox patriarchs,

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All that was written or spoken against the holy Patriarchs Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus, and Methodius, Ignatius, Photios, Nicephorus, Anthony and Nicholas,

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All that was innovated and enacted, or that after this shall be enacted, outside of Church tradition and the teaching and institution of the holy and ever-memorable fathers,

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To Stephen the New, the righteous martyr and confessor,

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To Efthymios, Theophilos, Emilianos, the ever-memorable confessors and archbishops,

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To Theophylactos, Peter, Michael and Joseph, the blessed metropolitans,

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To John, Nicholas, and George, the thrice-glorious confessors and archbishops, and all the bishops who were of one mind with them,

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To Theodore, the all-righteous abbot of the Studium,

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To Isaakios the wonderworker, the confessors Theodore and Theophanes the Branded, and Ioannikios the most prophetic,

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To Hilarion, the most righteous archimandrite and abbot of the Monastery of the Dalmatians,

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To Symeon the most righteous stylite,

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To Theophanes the most righteous abbot of the Monastery of the Great Field,

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These acclamations, like blessings of fathers, are inherited by us, their sons, who zealously emulate their piety; but likewise do the curses seize upon those parricides and disdainers of the Master’s commandments. Wherefore, we in unison, since we constitute the plenitude of piety, lay upon the impious the curse which they have put upon themselves.

To them who in words accept the Economy of the Incarnation of the Word of God, but will not tolerate its representation by icons, and thus in word they make a pretense of accepting, but in fact deny our salvation,

Anathema (3)

To them who because of a mistaken adherence to the term uncircumscribed, wish not to depict in icons Christ, our True God, Who like us partook of flesh and blood, and thus show themselves to be Docetists,

Anathema (1)

To them who accept the visions of the prophets, albeit unwillingly, but who do not – O wonder! – accept the images seen by the prophets even before the Incarnation of the Word, but vainly say that the intangible and unseeable essence was seen by the prophets, or even concede that these truly were revealed to the prophets as images and types and forms, but still cannot endure to depict in icons the Word become man and His sufferings for our sake,

Anathema (1)

To them who hear the Lord Who said that “If ye believed in Moses, ye would have believed in me” and who understand the saying of Moses, “The Lord our God will raise up for you a prophet like unto me,” but who, on the one hand, say that they accept the Prophet, yet on the other hand, do not permit the depiction in icons of the grace of the Prophet and our universal salvation such as He was seen, as He mingled with mankind, and worked many healings of passions and diseases, and such as He was crucified, was buried, and arose, in short, all that He both suffered and wrought for us; to those, therefore, who cannot endure to gaze upon these universal and saving deeds in icons, neither honor nor worship them,

Anathema (3)

To them who persist in the heresy of denying icons, or rather the apostasy of denying Christ, and are not counseled by the Mosaic law to be led to their salvation, nor are they convinced to return to piety by the apostolic teachings, nor are they induced by patristic exhortations and explanations to abandon their deception, nor are they persuaded by the agreement of the Churches of God throughout the whole world, but once for all have joined themselves to the portion of the Jews and Greeks; for those things wherewith the latter directly blaspheme the prototype, the former likewise have not blushed to insult in His icon Him that is depicted therein; therefore, to them who are incorrigibly possessed by this deception, and have their ears covered towards every Divine word and spiritual teaching, as already being putrified members, and having cut themselves off from the common body of the Church,

Anathema (3)

To Anastasios, Constantine and Nicetas, who, being unhallowed guides to perdition, were the originators of heresies during the reign of the Isaurians,

Anathema (3)

To Theodotus, Anthony and John, mutual instigators of evils who succeeded each other in their impiety,

Anathema (3)

To Paul, who turned back into a Saul, and to Theodore, surnamed Gastes, and to Stephan Molytes, and furthermore to Theodore Crithinus and Leon Laloudius, and. to whomever shares the like impiety with the aforementioned, whatever his rank might be, in the clergy or in some office or in whatever occupation he pursues; to all such who continue in their impiety,

Anathema (3)

To Gerontios, who, having his origins in Lampe but vomiting forth in Crete the venom of his loathsome heresy, called himself the anointed one for the overturning – fie! – of the saving Oeconomy of Christ, and to his perverted doctrines and writings and to those who agree with him,

Anathema (3)

THE ELEVEN CHAPTERS AGAINST JOHN ITALUS

To them who attempt by whatever means to introduce a new controversy or teaching into the ineffable Economy of our Incarnate Saviour and God, and who seek to penetrate the way wherein God the Word was united to the human substance and for what reason He deified the flesh He assumed, and who, by using dialectical terminology of nature and adoption, try to dispute about the transcendent innovation of His divine and human natures,

Anathema (3)

To them who profess piety yet shamelessly, or rather impiously, introduce into the Orthodox and Catholic Church the ungodly doctrines of the Greeks concerning the souls of men, heaven and earth, and the rest of creation,

Anathema (3)

To them who prefer the foolish so-called wisdom of the secular philosophers and follow its proponents, and who accept the metempsychosis of human souls or that, like the brute animals, the soul is utterly destroyed and departs into nothingness, and who thus deny the resurrection, judgment, and the final recompense for the deeds committed during life,

Anathema (3)

To them who dogmatize that matter and the Ideas are without beginning or are co-eternal with God, the Creator of all, and that heaven and earth and the other created things are everlasting, unoriginate and immutable, thus legislating contrary to Him Who said: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away’; to them who thus speak vain and earthly things drawing down the Divine curse upon their own heads,

Anathema (3)

To them who maintain that although the wise men of the Greeks and the foremost of the heresiarchs were put under anathema by the Seven Holy and Catholic Councils and by all the fathers that shone forth in Orthodoxy as ones alien to the Catholic Church because of the adulterations and loathsome superabundance of error in their teachings, yet they are exceedingly more excellent, both here and in the future judgment, than those pious and orthodox men who, by human passion or by ignorance, have committed some offense,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not accept with a pure and simple faith and with all their soul and heart the extraordinary miracles of our Saviour and God and of the holy Theotokos who without stain gave birth to Him, and of the other saints, but who attempt by sophistic demonstration and words to traduce them as being impossible, or to misinterpret them according to their own way of thinking, and to present them according to their own opinion,

Anathema (3)

To them who undertake Greek studies not only for purposes of education but also follow after their vain opinions, and are so thoroughly convinced of their truth and validity that they shamelessly introduce them and teach them to others, sometimes secretly and sometimes openly,

Anathema (3)

To them who of themselves refashion creation by means of mythical fabrications and accept the Platonic ideas as veritable, saying that matter, being self-subsistent, is given form by these ideas, and who thereby clearly calumniate the free will of the Creator Who brought all things into being out of non-being and Who, as Maker, established the beginning and end of all things by His authority and sovereignty,

Anathema (3)

To them who say that in the last and general resurrection men will be raised up and judged in other bodies and not in those wherewith they passed this present life, inasmuch as these were corrupted and destroyed, and who babble empty and vain things against Christ our God Himself, and His disciples, our teachers, who taught that in the very same body in which men lived, in the same shall they also be judged; furthermore the great Apostle Paul in his discourse concerning the resurrection distinctly and with examples restates the same truth more extensively and refutes as mindless those who think differently; therefore, to them who contravene such dogmas and doctrines,

Anathema (3)

To them who accept and transmit the vain Greek teachings that there is a pre-existence of souls and teach that all things were not produced and did not come into existence out of non-being, that there is an end to the torment or a restoration again of creation and of human affairs, meaning by such teachings that the Kingdom of the Heavens is entirely perishable and fleeting, whereas the Kingdom is eternal and indissoluble as Christ our God Himself taught and delivered to us, and as we have ascertained from the entire Old and New Scripture, that the torment is unending and the Kingdom everlasting to them who by such teachings both destroy themselves and become agents of eternal condemnation to others,

Anathema (3)

To those pagan and heterodox doctrines and teachings introduced in contempt of the Christian and Orthodox faith or in opposition to the Catholic and blameless faith of the Orthodox, by John Italus and by his disciples who shared in his ruin,

Anathema (1)

AGAINST NILOS

To those doctrines impiously dogmatized by the pseudo-monk Nilos and to all who share them,

Anathema (3)

AGAINST THE BOGOMILS

To them who do not confess one nature in the holy, coessential, undivided and coeternal Trinity, of one honor and of one throne, that is, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but who affirm that the Son is some adventitious angel called Satanael or Amen; and furthermore, who say that the Holy Spirit, equal in power with the Father and the Son, is different from or inferior to Them in nature; to such men, therefore, be

Anathema (1)

To them who do not confess that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and of all creatures, the Maker of Adam and the Fashioner of Eve, but say that the Adversary is the ruler and creator of all and the fashioner of human nature; to such men,

Anathema (1)

To them who do not confess that the Word and Son of God was begotten from the Father without change before the ages, and that in these latter times out of His abundant loving kindness, He became incarnate as a man from the immaculate Theotokos Mary, taking upon Himself for our salvation all that pertains to us save sin, and to them who consequently do not partake of His holy and immortal Mysteries with fear, inasmuch as they consider them as mere bread and common wine rather than the very flesh of the Master and His holy and precious Blood shed for the life of the world; to such men,

Anathema (1)

To them who do not worship the Cross of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ as the salvation and glory of the whole world and as that which annulled and utterly destroyed the machinations and weapons of the enemy, and thereby redeemed creation from the idols and manifested victory to the world, but hold the Cross to be a tyrannical weapon; to such men,

Anathema (1)

AGAINST EUSTRATIOS AND LEO OF CHALCEDON

To them who introduce a heretical, new understanding concerning the ineffable Economy of the Incarnation of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and say or think that Christ’s human nature, like a servant, worships the unapproachable Divinity and everlastingly retains servitude as an essential and inseparable mark,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not employ with all reverence the division made in pure thought for the purpose of showing only the difference between the ineffably conjoined two natures in Christ – which natures are united in Him without confusion and without division – but employ this distinction improperly, and say that this human nature which Christ has assumed is different not only in nature but also in dignity, and that it worships God and offers a servile ministry, and is obliged to honor God, in the same manner as the ministering spirits which serve and worship God as servants; and to them who identify the great High Priest with the assumed human nature itself, rather than with the Word of God Who became man, and by such means they dare to hypostatically divide the one Christ, our Lord and God,

Anathema (3)

AGAINST BASILAKI, SOTERICHOS, AND OTHERS

To them who say that the sacrifice of His precious Body and Blood offered for our salvation by our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ at the time of His world-saving Passion was offered up by Him to God the Father, and that He thus fulfilled the ministry of High Priest for us in His humanity (inasmuch as He is at the same time God and Sacrificer and Victim, according to St. Gregory the Theologian), but who then say that He, the Only Begotten, along with the Holy Spirit, did not Himself accept the sacrifice as God together with the Father; hence by such teachings they estrange from the divine equality of honor and dignity both God the Word and the Spirit, the Comforter, Who is of one essence and of one glory with Him,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not accept that the sacrifice which is offered daily by those who have received from Christ the priestly service of the Divine Mysteries, is in fact offered to the Holy Trinity, and thereby contradict the sacred and divine fathers, Basil and Chrysostom, and other God-bearing fathers who all agree in both their words and writings,

Anathema (3)

To them who hear the Saviour saying concerning the priestly service of the Divine Mysteries delivered by Him: “Do this in remembrance of Me,” but they do not understand “remembrance” correctly, but dare to say that the daily sacrifice offered by those who perform the sacred service of the Divine Mysteries, just as our Saviour, the Master of all, delivered to us, reenacts only symbolically and figuratively the Sacrifice of His own Body and Blood which our Saviour had offered on the Cross as a ransom and redemption of our common human nature; and for this reason, since they introduce the doctrine that this is a different sacrifice from the one originally consummated by the Saviour and refers to it merely symbolically and figuratively, they bring to naught the Mystery of the awesome and divine priestly service whereby we receive the earnest of the future life; therefore, to them who deny what is staunchly proclaimed by our divine Father John Chrysostom who says in many commentaries on the sayings of the Great Paul that the sacrifice is identical, that both are one and the same,

Anathema (3)

To them who invent and introduce intervals of time into the reconciliation of human nature with the Divine and blessed nature of the lifegiving and wholly inviolate Trinity, and legislate that we were first reconciled to the Only-begotten Word by His assumption of humanity and then afterwards to God the Father during the salutary Passion of the Saviour Christ; and thus they divide what is indivisible according to the divine and blessed fathers who taught that the Only-begotten reconciled us to Himself through the entire Mystery of the Economy, of the Incarnation and through Himself and in Himself to God the Father and, it follows necessarily, to the all-holy and life-creating Spirit; therefore to them who invent these new and strange doctrines we say,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not correctly understand the divine voices of the holy teachers of the Church of God and who attempt to misinterpret and pervert those things clearly and manifestly spoken in them by the grace of the Holy Spirit,

Anathema (3)

To them who accept, among other interpretations by the holy fathers, that the words of our true God and Lord, our Saviour Jesus Christ, ‘My Father is greater than I’ also appertain to His humanity, wherein He suffered, as the holy fathers distinctly preach in many places in their God-inspired words; to them moreover who say that the same Christ suffered in His own flesh, be

Eternal Memory (3)

To them who understand and speak of the deification of the assumed nature as implying a change of the human nature into the Divine Nature and do not believe that, because of this union, the Body of the Lord shares the Divine rank and majesty and consequently is worshipped with one worship of God the Word Who assumed it, nor do they believe that it shares in the one honor, glory, and throne, being life-creating, and equal in majesty with God the Father and the All-Holy Spirit – not that it became coessential with God so as to lose its natural properties, of creaturehood, circumscription, and of the other properties seen in the human nature of Christ – but they believe rather that it is changed into the very essence of the Divinity and, by this, imply that either the incarnation and passion of the Lord were not true, but a fantasy, or that the Divinity of the Only-begotten suffered passion,

Anathema (3)

To them who say that the flesh of the Lord is exalted by this union and that it transcends every honor since by this complete union it became immutably one with God, without change, without confusion, and unaltered by reason of the hypostatic union, inseparably and continuously abiding in God the Word Who assumed it, and that it is honored with a glory equal to His and worshipped with one worship and is established on the royal and divine Throne at the right hand of God the Father, and is endowed with the attributes of Divinity, while the properties of the two natures are preserved,

Eternal Memory (3)

To them who reject the teachings which were pronounced for the establishment of the true doctrines of the Church of God by the Holy Fathers Athanasios, Cyril, Ambrose, Amphilochios the God-proclaiming, Leo the most holy Archbishop of Old Rome, and by all the others, and furthermore, who do not embrace the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils, especially those of the Fourth, I say, and of the Sixth,

Anathema (3)

To them who do not accept the saying of our true God and Saviour Jesus Christ, ‘The Father is greater than I’ as the saints have diversely interpreted it, some saying that it refers to His Divinity because of His generation from the Father, and other saints saying that it refers to the natural properties of the flesh, assumed by Him and which is enhypostatic in His divinity, namely creaturehood, circumscription, mortality and the other natural and blameless passions because of which the Lord called the Father greater than Himself; but who contrarily say, that the Lord’s words are only understandable when the flesh is considered in abstract thought as separated from the Godhead as though it had never been united; therefore, to them who do not receive this method – that is, the conceptual division in abstract thought – as used by the holy fathers who employed it only whenever servitude and ignorance are mentioned, since they could not endure that the flesh of Christ which is one with God and of the same honor be blasphemed by using such words, but who instead say that the natural properties are to be understood merely conceptually by an act of abstract thought although the natural properties truly belong to the Lord’s flesh which is enhypostatic to His Divinity and remains united indivisibly, and they dogmatize the same concerning things unsubstantial and false, as they do for the substantial and true,

Anathema (3)

AGAINST CONSTANTINE THE BULGARIAN

To Constantine of Bulgaria, who was metropolitan of Corfu, who evilly and impiously dogmatized concerning the saying of our true God and Saviour Jesus Christ, ‘The Father is greater than I,’ and did not believe and say that the holy and Godbearing fathers understand this saying in diverse pious senses, as well as in this sense: that the flesh which was assumed by the Only-begotten Son of God from the holy Virgin and Theotokos and which subsisted in His Divinity without confusion after the indivisible union, retained its own properties, and for this reason the Lord called the Father greater than Himself; Who with His assumed human nature (since it is at one with God and of the same glory as God) is in one worship both worshipped and glorified together with the Father and the All-Holy Spirit; but Constantine maintains that this saying must not be applied whenever the Lord is considered to be one hypostasis having the two natures united, but applied only when the flesh is considered to be separated merely conceptually from the Divinity so that what belongs to His humanity can be comprehended (but the supremely theological Damascene clearly taught that this purely abstract distinction is not used whenever a statement is made indicating some natural property of Christ’s flesh, but rather when a statement manifests either servitude or ignorance); therefore to Constantine who was not willing to follow the Holy and Ecumenical Fourth and Sixth Councils, which dogmatized rightly and piously concerning the two natures united unconfusedly in Christ and which taught the Church of Christ to believe rightly, and who thus destroyed himself in diverse heresies,

Anathema (3)

To all them who are of one mind with this same Constantine of Bulgaria and who suffered and lamented over his deposition, not out of pity, but because they have been led astray by his impiety,

Anathema (3)

AGAINST JOHN IRENICUS

To the most unlearned John Irenicus the champion of falsehood and vanity, and to those things composed by him against the writings of piety, and to them who embrace his words and who believe and say, that not because of the humanity which our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and God holds within Himself, and which is enhypostatic and united inseparably, indivisibly and unconfusedly with His Divinity, did He, as perfect man, say in the Holy Gospels; ‘The Father is greater than I,’ but they say rather that this phrase is to be considered as being spoken by Him according to His humanity in the same manner as when, by an act of abstract thought, His humanity is divested and entirely divided from His Divinity, and as if it had never been united thereto and as it it were like our common nature,

Anathema (3)

To the conclave that raged against the venerable icons,

Anathema (3)

To them who consider the declarations of Divine Scripture against the idols as referring to the venerable icons of Christ our God and His saints,

Anathema (3)

To them who knowingly have communion with those who insult and dishonor the venerable icons,

Anathema (3)

To them who say that the Christians draw near to icons as if they were gods,

Anathema (3)

To them who say that another besides Christ our God delivered us from the deception of idols,

Anathema (3)

To them who dare to say that the Catholic Church at one time had accepted idols, and thus they overthrow the entire mystery, and blaspheme the Faith of the Christians,

Anathema (3)

Whoever would defend an adherent of any heresy which disparages the Christians, or would defend someone who died in that heresy, let him be,

Anathema (3)

If anyone does not worship our Lord Jesus Christ depicted in the icons according to His humanity, let him be,

Anathema (3)

To all the heretics,

Anathema (3)

To Barlaam and Acindynus and to their followers and successors,

Anathema (3)

THE CHAPTERS AGAINST BARLAAM AND AKINDYNUS

To them who at times think and say that the light which shone forth from the Lord at His Divine transfiguration is an apparition, a thing created, and a phantom which appears for an instant and then immediately vanishes, and who at other times think and say that this light is the very essence of God, and thus dementedly cast themselves into entirely contradictory and impossible positions; to such men who, on the one hand, raving with Arius’ madness, sever the one Godhead and the one God into created and uncreated, and who, on the other hand, are entangled in the impiety of the Massalians who assert that the Divine essence is visible, and who moreover, do not confess, in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that that supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God,

Anathema (3)

Again, to those same men who think and say that God has no natural energy, but is nought but essence, who suppose the Divine essence and the Divine energy to be entirely identical and undistinguishable and with no apprehensible difference between them; who call the same thing at times essence and at times energy, and who senselessly abolish the very essence of God and reduce it to non-being, for, as the teachers of the Church say, “Only non-being is deprived of an energy” to these men who think as did Sabellios, and who dare now to renew his ancient contraction, confusion and coalescing of the three Hypostases of the Godhead upon the essence and energy of God by confounding them in an equally impious manner; to these men who do not confess in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that in God there is both essence and essential, natural energy, as a great many of the saints, and especially all those who gathered at the Sixth Ecumenical Council, have clearly explained with respect to Christ’s two energies, both Divine and human, and His two wills; to those then who in nowise wish to comprehend that, even as there is an unconfused union of God’s essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable; to them, therefore, who profess such impieties,

Anathema (3)

Again, to those same men who think and say that every natural power and energy of the Tri-hypostatic Godhead is created, and thereby are constrained to believe that the very essence of God is also created, since, according to the saints, created energy evidences a created nature, whereas uncreated energy designates an uncreated nature; to these men who, in consequence, are in danger now of falling into complete atheism, who have affixed the mythology of the Greeks and the worship of creatures to the pure and spotless faith of the Christians and who do not confess, in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that every natural power and energy of the Tri-hypostatic Godhead is uncreated,

Anathema (3)

Again, to those same men who think and say that through these pious doctrines a compounding comes to pass in God, for they do not comply with the teaching of the saints, that no compounding occurs in a nature from its natural properties; to such men who thereby lay false accusation not only against us, but against all the saints who, at great length and on many occasions, have most lucidly restated both the doctrine of God’s simplicity and uncompoundedness and the distinction of the Divine essence and energy, in such a manner so that this distinction in no way destroys the Divine simplicity, for otherwise, they would contradict their own teaching; to such, therefore, as speak these empty words and do not confess in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that the Divine simplicity is most excellently preserved in this God-befitting distinction,

Anathema (3)

Again, to those same men who think and say that the name ‘Godhead’ or ‘Divinity’ can be applied only to the essence of God, but who do not confess in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that this appellation equally pertains to the Divine energy, and that thus one Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is by all means still professed, whether one apply the name ‘Godhead’ to Their essence, or to Their energy, as the divine expounders of the mysteries have instructed us,

Anathema (3)

Again, to those same men who think and say that the essence of God is communicable, and who thus without shame strive to subtly introduce into our Church the impiety of the Massalians, who of old suffered from the malady of this same opinion, and who thus do not confess in accord with the divinely inspired theologies of the saints and. the pious mind of the Church, that the essence of God is wholly inapprehensible and incommunicable, whereas the grace and energy of God are communicable,

Anathema (3)

To all the impious words and writings of these men,

Anathema (3)

To Isaac, surnamed Argyros, who suffered throughout his life with the malady of Barlaam and Akindynus, and though at the end of his life the Church asked, as formerly She had often done, for his return and repentance, he nevertheless remained obdurate in his impiety and in the profession of his heresy, and wretchedly vomited forth his soul,

Anathema (3)

To Arius, the first to fight against God, and the leader of every heresy,

Anathema (3)

To Peter the Fuller and fool, who said ‘Holy Immortal, Who was crucified for us,’

Anathema (3)

To Nestorios, the cursed of God, who said that the Holy Trinity suffered, and to the godless and mindless Valentinos,

Anathema (3)

To Paul of Samosata and Theodotion, his like-minded confidant, and to another Nestorios,

Anathema (3)

To Peter the Paltry, the heretic, who was surnamed Lycopetrus, or ‘the Wolf,’ to the evil-minded Eutychius and Sabellios,

Anathema (3)

To James Stanstalus the Armenian, to Dioscorus the Patriarch of Alexandria, to the godless Severus, as well as to the like-minded Sergius, Paul and Pyrrus, and to Sergius, the disciple of Lycopetrus,

Anathema (3)

To all the followers of Eutychius, to the Monothelites, the Jacobites and the Artzivurites, and generally to all heretics,

Anathema (3)

HERE COMMENCES THE PRAISE OF THE ORTHODOX EMPERORS WHO HAVE GONE TO THEIR REST

To Andronicus Paleologus, our renowned and blessed emperor, who convoked the first council against Barlaam, and who vigorously championed the Church of Christ and that sacred council both by deeds and by words and by marvelous orations to the people with his own mouth; he made steadfast the evangelical and apostolic dogmas, while he both put dawn and publicly denounced Barlaam together with his heresies, his writings and his vain words against our Right Faith; he was blessedly translated from this life and passed to that better and blessed state during these, his sacred endeavors and valiant deeds for the sake of piety,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Gregory, the most holy Metropolitan of Thessalonica, who in the Great Church synodically put down both Barlaam and Akindynus, the leaders and inventors of new heresies, together with their villainous company, men who dared to aver that the natural and inseparable energy and power of God, and in short, all the natural properties of the Holy Trinity, are created, who dared to call the unapproachable light of the Godhead which shone forth from Christ upon the mountain, ‘created divinity,’ and strive once again to wickedly introduce into the Church of Christ the Platonic ideas and those other Greek myths; to this Gregory, who by means of his writings, words and arguments, wisely and most gallantly led the fight in defense of the common Church of Christ and of the true, infallible dogmas pertaining to the Godhead, and proclaimed one Divinity and one almighty God of Three Hypostases, possessing both energy and will, and untreated in all His properties, as is in accordance with Divine Scripture, and its interpreters the theologians, that is, Athanasios, Basil, Gregory, and John of Golden speech, and Cyril, and together with them, the wise Maximus, and the divinely eloquent Damascene, and moreover all the fathers and teachers of the Church of Christ; to this Gregory, who was manifest by his words and deeds to be the fellow-communicate, companion, ally, emulator and comrade in arms with all these saints,

Eternal Memory (3)

To all those men, together with the aforementioned renowned and blessed emperor Andronicus, and indeed, those who ruled after him, who contended for the defense of Orthodoxy in discourse and debates, in writings and teachings, in every word and act, who vigorously championed the Church of Christ, who in the Church confuted and publicly denounced the malicious and multiform heresies of Barlaam and Akindynus and their like, and brilliantly proclaimed the dogmas of piety taught by the apostles and the fathers, and for this very reason were repudiated by the impious, and were defamed and disparaged along with the sacred theologians and our God-bearing fathers and teachers,

Eternal Memory (3)

To those who confess one Tri-hypostatic and almighty God, Who is not only uncreated with respect to His essence and His Hypostases, but also with respect to His energy; to those who declare that the energy of God proceeds from His Divine essence, but proceeds inseparably, and who thus indicate by the term ‘procession’ the ineffable distinction between the Divine essence and energy, and by the term ‘inseparably’ their supernatural unity, even as the Holy Sixth Ecumenical Council proclaimed,

Eternal Memory (3)

To those who confess that even as God is uncreated and unoriginate with respect to His essence, so is He untreated and unoriginate with respect to His energy (unoriginate in the sense that the Divine energy is timeless); and to those who declare that God is in every way incommunicable and incomprehensible with respect to His essence, but is communicated to the worthy with respect to His Divine and deifying energy, as the theologians of the Church profess,

Eternal Memory (3)

To those who confess that the light which shone forth ineffably upon the mountain at the Lord’s Transfiguration is unapproachable light, boundless light, an incomprehensible effusion of the Deity’s resplendence, unutterable glory, the transcendently perfect and praeter-perfect and timeless glory of the Godhead, the glory of the Son, the Kingdom of God, true and lovable beauty which encompasses the Divine and blessed nature, the glory natural to God, and the Divinity of the Father and the Spirit flashing forth in the Only-begotten Son, as our divine and God-bearing fathers have said, Athanasios the Great and Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, and moreover John of Damascus, and who therefore maintain this supremely Divine light to be uncreated,

Eternal Memory (3)

To those who affirm the light of the Lord’s Transfiguration to be uncreated, and do not assert that this is the super-essential essence of God, since the Divine essence remains in every way unseen and uncommunicated; ‘No man hath seen God at any time,’ that is, as the theologians explain, as He is in His nature; but who say rather, that this is the natural glory of the super-essential essence, the glory which proceeds inseparably forth from thence and, by God’s love for men, shines upon those who are purified in mind, with which glory, as the theologians of the Church teach, our Lord and God will appear in His second and dread Coming to judge the living and the dead,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Michael, our Orthodox emperor, and Theodora his holy mother,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Basil and Constantine, Leo and Alexander, Christopher and Romanos, Constantine, Romanos, Nicephorus, and John, Basil and Constantine, Andronicus, and Romanos, Michael, Nicephorus, Isaakios, Alexius, and John, Manuel, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Matthew, monk, Isaakios, Alexius, and Theodore, who all exchanged an earthly kingdom for the Heavenly,

Eternal Memory (3)

To John Ducas of pious memory, our ever-memorable emperor, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Theodore monk,

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To Michael Paleologus the New, of pious memory, our ever-memorable emperor,

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To Andronicus Paleologus of pious memory, our ever-memorable emperor, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Anthony, monk,

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To Andronicus Paleologus, who is at rest with the pious, our ever-memorable most pious and Christ-loving emperor,

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To John Catacuzenos, who is at rest with the pious, our ever-memorable, most pious and Christ-loving emperor, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Ioasaph,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Eudokia and Theophano, Theodora and Helen, Theophano and Theodora, Catherine, Eudokia, Maria, Irene and Maria, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Xenia, nun, Euphrosyne, Anna, and Helen, the most pious Augustae,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Irene of pious memory, our pious and ever-memorable queen, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Eugenia, nun,

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To Theodora of pious memory, our ever-memorable queen, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Eugenia, nun,

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To Irene of pious memory our ever-memorable queen,

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To Maria of pious memory, our ever-memorable queen, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Xenia, nun,

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To Anna of pious memory, our ever-memorable queen, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Anastasia, nun, who by deeds and words with her whole soul struggled throughout her life for the establishment of the Apostolic and Patristic Dogmas of the Church and the overthrow of the evil and atheist heresy of Barlaam and Akindynus and of those who were of like mind with them,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Irene of pious memory, our ever-memorable queen, who by the divine and angelic habit was renamed Eugenia, nun,

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To Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus, and Methodius, the ever-memorable and blessed patriarchs,

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To Ignatius, Photios, Stephen, and Anthony, Nicholas, and Efthymios, Stephen, Trypho and Theophylactos, Polyeuctus, Anthony, Nicholas, Sisinius, Sergius, Eustathius, Alexius, Michael, John, Constantine, Cosmas, Eustratios, Nicholas, Leo, Michael, Theodotus, Luke, Michael, Chariton, Theodotus, Basil, Nicetas, Leontius, Dositheus, Meletius, Peter, George, Michael, Theodore, John, Maximus, Manuel, Methodius, who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Akakios, monk, Manuel who by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed Matthew, monk, the Orthodox patriarchs,

Eternal Memory (3)

To Germanus, who rests in blessedness, the ever-memorable patriarch, who

by the divine and angelic Habit was renamed George, monk,

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To Arsenius, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Joseph, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Athanasios, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Gerasimus, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Isaiah, the most holy patriarch,

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To Isidore, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Callistus, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch,

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To Philotheus, who rests in blessedness, the most holy and ever-memorable patriarch, who unwaveringly struggled for the Church of Christ and her right dogmas with words and actions, discourses, teachings, and writings,

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To Christopher, Theodore, Agapius, and John, Nicholas, Eliu, and Theodore, Basil, Peter, Theodosius, Nicephorus, and John, the ever-memorable patriarchs of Antioch,

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To Damian, Basil, Constantine, Nicephorus, Leo and Sisinius, Basil, and Joseph, Michael, and Christopher, Nicephorus, George, Pantoleon, and Alexander, Cosmas, and Constantine, Theophanes, Peter, John, Nicetas, George, Nicholas, and John, the Orthodox metropolitans,

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To Michael, Metrophanes, Meletius, Ignatius and Maximus, the ever-memorable metropolitans of Old Patras,

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HERE IS MADE THE ACCLAMATION OF THE KINGS, PATRIARCHS, AND ALL THE LIVING. THE HOLY TRINITY HATH GLORIFIED THEM.

Let us beseech God that we be instructed and strengthened by their conflicts and struggles unto death for the sake of piety and by their teachings, and let us fervently pray to be shown forth unto the end as imitators of their godly conversation. May we be deemed worthy of the fulfillment of our petitions by the compassions and grace of the great and first High Priest Christ, our true God, by the intercessions of our most glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, of the Godlike Angels, and of all the Saints. Amen.

FROM THE COUNCIL OF 1583

From old Rome have come certain persons who learned there to wear Latin habits. The worst of it is how, from being Romans of Rumelia bred and born, they not only have changed their faith, but they even wage war upon the Orthodox dogmas and truths of the Eastern Church which have been delivered to us by Christ and the divine Apostles and the Holy Councils (or Synods) of the Holy Fathers. Therefore, cutting off these persons as rotten members, we command:

That whoever does not confess with heart and mouth that he is a child of the Eastern Church baptized in Orthodox style, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds out of only the Father, essentially and hypostatically, as Christ says in the Gospel, shall be outside of our Church and shall be anathematized. That whoever does not confess that at the Mystery of Holy Communion the laity must also partake of both kinds, of the Precious Body and Blood, but instead says that he will partake only of the body, and that this is sufficient because therein is both flesh and blood, when as a matter of fact Christ said and administered each separately, and they who fail to keep such customs, let all such persons be anathematized.

That whoever says that our Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystic Supper had unleavened bread (made without yeast), like that of the Jews, and not leavened bread, that is to say, bread raised with yeast, let him depart far away from us and let him be anathema as one having Jewish views and those of Apolinarios and bringing dogmas of the Armenians into our Church, on which account let him be doubly anathema.

Whoever says that our Christ and God, when He comes to judge us, does not come to judge souls together with bodies, or embodied souls, but instead comes to sentence only bodies, let him be anathema.

Whoever says that the souls of Christians who repented while in the world but failed to perform their penance go to a purgatory of fire when they die, where there is flame and punishment, and are purified, which is simply an ancient Greek myth, and those who, like Origen, think that hell is not everlasting, and thereby afford or offer the liberty or incentive to sin, let him and all such persons be anathema.

That whoever says that the Pope is the head of the Church, and not Christ, and that he has authority to admit persons to Paradise with his letters of indulgence or other passports, and can forgive sins as many as a person may commit if such person pay money to receive from him indulgences, i.e., licenses to sin, let every such person be anathema.

That whoever does not follow the customs of the Church as the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils decreed, and Holy Pascha, and the Menologion with which they did well in making it a law that we should follow it, and wishes to follow the newly-invented Paschalion and the New Menologion of the atheist astronomers of the Pope, and opposes all those things and wishes to overthrow and destroy the dogmas and customs of the Church which have been handed down by our fathers, let him suffer anathema and be put out of the Church of Christ and out of the Congregation of the Faithful.

That ye pious and Orthodox Christians remain faithful in what ye have been taught and have been born and brought up in, and when the time calls for it and there be need, that your very blood be shed in order to safeguard the Faith handed down by our Fathers and your confession: and that ye beware of such persons as have been described or referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, in order that our Lord Jesus Christ may help you and at the same time may the prayer of our mediocrity be with all of you: Amen.

Done in the year of the God-man 1583, year of indiction 12, November 20,

Jeremiah of Constantinople
Silvester of Alexandria
Sophronius of Jerusalem

In the presence of the rest of the prelates at the Council.

On The Sunday Of Orthodoxy

St Luke

by St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea

Doctor of Medicine, Professor, and State Prize winner, since 1944 St. Luke was the Archbishop of Tambov and Michurinsk, and later of Simferopol and the Crimea. While he was serving the church as an Archbishop, he was also practicing as a surgeon and taught and published many books and articles on regional anesthesia and surgery. He is now known to be a world-famous pioneering surgeon.

Sermon given on the First Sunday of Lent

On the first Sunday of Lent, our Holy Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy, of true faith, which trampled down all heresies and was established. For this reason this Sunday is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Heresies showed up even at the very beginning of Christianity. The Apostles of Christ themselves warned their contemporaries, and with them us too, about the danger of false teachers.

The Holy Apostle Peter writes the following in his Second General Epistle:

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed”(II Pet. 2:1-2).

St. Paul, returning to Palestine from Greece, made a stop in Ephesus. To the the Christian inhabitants of the town there he said:

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30).

Many such false teachers and schismatics existed in the first centuries of Christianity. Some heresies troubled the Church for centuries, such as the heresies of Arius, of Macedonius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, of Nestorius and also the heresy of Iconoclasm. These heresies caused much disturbance in the Church and afflicted the Church greatly. There were many confessors and martyrs who shed their blood defending the true faith in the fight against false teachers and heretics.

There were also many great prelates, who also suffered under persecution and were often exiled. Saint Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, for example, in a council chaired by Dioscorus, called the Robber Synod and was

“beaten so savagely that he died three days later.”

The last in the line-up of heresies, the heresy of Iconoclasm, was the one that tormented our Orthodox Church the most. This heresy first appeared during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurian, who came to the throne in 717. He ascended the throne with the help of the army, which had many opponents of those who venerate holy icons, within its ranks. Because he wanted to please the army he started a harsh persecution against Iconophiles.

This persecution continued on into the reign of Emperor Constantine Copronymus, who succeeded Leo to the throne. The name Copronymus (“dung-named”) comes from coprus meaning manure, i.e. feces. He was called Copronymus because he defecated in his baptismal font. These two emperors were in power for many years and brought great affliction upon the Church. Following these, there were other Iconoclast emperors, who continued the work of their predecessors and tormented the Church for years.

We can not begin to describe the suffering endured by the Church during the years of Iconoclasm, and especially the monks who were in the frontline in the battle for holy icons. The Iconoclast emperors closed many monasteries and turned many churches which had icons into shells. The monks were savagely beaten: they took out their eyes, noses were cut off, icons were broken on their heads. They burnt the fingers of icon-painting hagiographers with burning irons.

The persecution only stopped when Empress Irene came to the throne of the Byzantine Empire, but this was not yet final. In 787 Irene convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which set down Orthodox teaching on the veneration of holy icons. But even after this Council Iconoclast emperors still existed, for example, Michael and others. The heresy was crushed only under the God-fearing Augusta, Theodora, when a local council was convened in Constantinople in 842, which upheld the Orthodox teaching. The council pronounced an anathema on all those who dare to say that the veneration of holy icons is idolatry and that Orthodox Christians are idolaters.

And here various sects still tell us exactly this thing. They dare to call our icons idols and call us idolaters. And with what nerve? I will tell you of an incident that took place recently in a city in Siberia. During the Liturgy two Baptists walked into the church and started shouting that the Orthodox are pagans idol-worshippers and that the icons are idols. What nonsense!

How dare they open their mouths and say these words dripping with venom, calling us pagans and our icons idols? This shows that they have not understood correctly the second commandment of Mosaic Law:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image —any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;”(Ex. 20.4).

What does this commandment mean? I think the meaning is clear. The commandment prohibits the building of idols for worship, instead of worshipping the One, Unique and True God – as did ancient peoples: the Assyrians, the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and others – instead of worshipping the One, Unique and True God. That is idolatry. But is our veneration of holy icons anything like idolatry? Certainly not. Idols represented something that does not really exist, something that is a product of imagination. Our own icons depict reality. Really, did the Lord Jesus Christ, who we glorify amd who we venerate in icons, not living among us? Did the Virgin Mary, who was painted by the apostle and evangelist Saint Luke not live among us? This icon was blessed by the very Theotokos herself, saying that grace would always be with this icon. Do you know how many miracles happen from icons of the Virgin Mary?

And the other icons, don’t they show real saints of God who lived here on Earth? These icons are their portraits and in no way are idols. Only impious and filthy mouth dares to say that our icons are idols and that we are idolaters. Let the ungodly be silent as the Ecumenical Council has pronunced anathema upon them. You should know this, and remember this and not keep company with heretics.

Do not leave the Church, do not rip the robe of Christ. Remember that Christ in his prayer at Gethsemane, the hierarchical prayer, begged his Father, saying:

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17: 21).

The Lord wants unity of the Church. The dissenters, the schismatics, who find errors in the teaching of the Church, are removed from it and believe they will find salvation in their heretical organizations.

But do you know what the great saints said about people who tear the tunic of Christ? Saint Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, said that people who leave the Church and do not have communion with it even if they become martyrs, even with their blood, will not be cleansed of their sin because this grievous sin of dividing the Church cannot even be cleaned with shedding of blood. And the holy martyr Ignatius the God-bearer said that he who causes schism in the Church will not inherit the kingdom of God.

All heretics, however, are preachers of schism. While the apostle says:

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17).

And in another letter says this:

“If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).

And all the heretics do not preach what the Orthodox Church, which gave us spiritual birth, preaches.

Remember also, the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who told the apostles, and through them us, their successors:

“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Lk. 10:16).

These words of the Lord are awesome. Remember them always. Do not forget this day, the day of the Triumph of the Orthodox faith. The faith that was set down by the Seventh Ecumenical Council which established Orthodoxy and trampled down all heresies and schisms.

Over a thousand years have passed since the time of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and no such Ecumenical Councils have been convened since.

Why? The reasons are political. It was impossible to call them. But we should not be sorry that others did not take place and that there are no Ecumenical Councils today. These Seven that we have sorted out all questions and solved all the problems that the Church had with heresies and established the Orthodox faith.

You will say that there are many new heresies and schisms today. Yes, you are right. But we should know that the new heresies are not saying anything new but repeating what the old heretics have already said. All of these heresies were anathematized by the Seventh Ecumenical Council. So the decisions of seven Ecumenical Councils are enough for us, especially the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This is why we rejoice today and celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which was expressed and fixed by the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

It was precisely for this reason that it was appointed that a doxology should be chanted on this day, as a thanksgiving to God for securing the Orthodox faith. Let us chant this doxology now.

Source

Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

St. Tikhon, the holy New-Confessor, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America, began his episcopal service as bishop of the Aleutian Islands and North America from 1898-1907. His missionary zeal was nothing short of extraordinary, not only in its obvious presence in his own life and actions, and those of the clergy under his guidance and pastoral care, but also in the important place he desired it to hold in the life of the laity over whom he presided.

This Sunday, Brethren, begins the week of Orthodoxy, or the week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, because it is today that the Holy Orthodox Church solemnly recalls its victory over the Iconoclast heresy and other heresies and gratefully remembers all who fought for the Orthodox faith in word, writing, teaching, suffering, or godly living. Continue reading Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Sermon on the Triumph of Orthodoxy

by Archbishop Averky (Taushev) Our father, Archbishop Averky, was bishop of Syracuse and Abbot of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery in Jordanville, NY.

“This is the Apostolic faith, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the Orthodox faith – confirm this universal faith.”

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, you will hear these solemn and significant words in the Rite of Orthodoxy which the Holy Church has established to be served on this day. The first week of Holy and Great Lent has ended a week of intensified prayer and ascetical repentance. Now the Holy Church, desiring to encourage and console us, has established for us in this first week of Great Lent, on its first Sunday, a spiritual celebration,one most dear and close to our hearts – The Triumph of Orthodoxy.

This celebration was first performed in 842 in Constantinople in the presence of the Blessed Empress Theodora by His Holiness Patriarch Methodius – in memory of the overthrow of the last terrible heresy to shake Christ’s Church, the heresy of iconoclasm. But in this celebration the Holy Church marks the triumph of the holy Orthodox faith in general, her victory over all impious heresies, false teachings and schisms.

Our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour founded His Church on earth so that all belonging to her could be saved, could elude the nets of the devil and enter into the Heavenly Kingdom prepared for them. The devil exerted all his strength to overthrow and destroy the Church of Christ and, through this, to hinder the salvation of men. At first he raised up terrible persecutions against the Church on the part of the Jews and pagans. For almost three centuries the blood of Christian martyrs flowed without ceasing. But the devil did not succeed in his task.

The blood of the martyrs, according to the apt expression of the Christian apologist Tertullian, became the “seeds of Christians.”

Christianity triumphed over its persecutors.

“The meek lambs of Christ’s flock transformed the wolf-like rage of their persecutors into lamb-like meekness.”

But the devil did not resist after the defeat he suffered at the hands of the martyrs .When the Church of Christ triumphed in the world he raised up a new, even more dangerous persecution against her: from within the Church, as the Holy Apostle Paul had foretold in his conversation with the Ephesian presbyters, men arose

“speaking perverse things.” Paul called such men “grievous wolves.” [Acts 20:29-30].

These were so-called “heretics” who tried to pervert the true teaching of Christ concerning faith and piety in order to make this teaching ineffective for men. When this happened, the Holy Church, in the person of its best servants, took up arms against these heretics in order to defend its true, undistored teaching. There began to be convoked first “local” and then “ecumenical” councils. Bishops came together from all the corners of the earth and through the Holy Spirit they gave voice to the pure and undistorted Truth, following the example of the First Apostolic Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:6-29].

They also cut off heretics from the Church and anathematized them. This was in according with the clear commandment of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said,

“If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” [Matthew 18:17].

And in accordance with the commandment of the Holy Apostle Paul, that great “apostle to the nations” who said,

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [Galatians 1:8].

And in another place he states:

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. Maranatha [I Cor. 16:22].

Thus our moving, majestic and solemn Rite of Orthodoxy takes its beginning from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and from his great Apostle, called by Him to be the “apostle to the nation”, i.e. of the whole pagan world. From the ninth century on the Holy Church has established that this rite should be served on the first Sunday of Holy Great Lent and that it be name “Orthodox Sunday”.

The rite, brothers and sisters, is particularly important and significant in the evil times we are experiencing, times in which the Orthodox faith is wavering and shaking. This wavering and shaking of the Orthodox faith is due to those very persons who ought to be strengthening and supporting it in the souls of the faithful. Those who should be pillars of Holy Orthodoxy – high-ranking hierarchs including the heads of certain Local Churches – are departing from the Truth of Holy Orthodoxy.

It is terrible to have to say that even the head of the Constantinopolitan Church, which is known as the “Ecumenical” Church, the man considered to be the first hierarch of all Orthodoxy, has set out on this path!

On all of this there undoubtedly lies the print of the Apostasy about which the Holy Apostle Paul foretold [II Thess. 2-3] – the apostasy of Christians from Christ.

We are now face to face with this Apostasy. The major threat to true Christian faith, the Orthodox faith, is the so called “Ecumenical ‘Movement,” headed by what is known as the “World Council of Churches,” a body which denies the doctrine of the unity and infalliblility of the True Church of Christ and attempts to create from all the presently existing and distracted faiths, a new “false-Church” which, from our point of view, will without any doubt be the “Church” of Antichrist, that false-church which the Antichrist, whose coming is now being rapidly prepared in the world, will head.

From the teaching of the Word of God and the Holy Fathers of the Church, we know that the Antichrist will be both the religious and political leader of all humanity: he will stand at the head of the new universal false Church; he will also be the director of one new world government and will attempt to submit all to his absolute power.

The Orthodox faith – this is the “faith of the Apostles,” “the faith of the Fathers” – it is that faith which the Apostlic Fathers, the direct disciples of the Holy Apostles, and the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church and their lawful successors, established by the Holy Spirit, interpreted for us in their marvellous and inspired writings.

Brothers and sisters, we must hold this faith steadfastly if we desire eternal salvation! Now we shall perform with you this deeply instructive, moving and highly solemn rite which consists of two parts:

  • the first part is the prayer of the Holy Church for all those who have gone astray or fallen away from the true Orthodox faith;
  • in the second part the Holy Church pronounces dread anathema against all false teachers, heretics and schismatics who have grown stubborn in their malice and who do not wish to reunite with the true Church of Christ but instead struggle against her.

Then we shall sing “Eternal Memory” for all departed defenders of Holy Orthodoxy and “Many Years” for those defenders of the Holy Orthodox faith and Church who are still among the living.

Sunday of Orthodoxy Homily

by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (1914 – August 4, 2003) was bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh, the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland. He wrote masterfully about Christian prayer, and many Orthodox Christians in Great Britain and throughout the world consider him to be a saint.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We are keeping today, as every year at the end of the first week of Lent, the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. And every year we must give thought to what is meant, not only as a historical event, but also in our personal lives. Continue reading Sunday of Orthodoxy Homily

On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Our father, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, (d. 1983) was a prominent 20th century Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, and writer. He taught at St. Vladimir Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY and at St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, France.

His writings have been very influential in contemporary Orthodoxy, and have been translated into many languages.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Rejoicing today in the triumph of Orthodoxy on this first Sunday of Lent, we joyfully commemorate three events: one event belonging to the past; one event to the present; and one event which still belongs to the future.

Whenever we have any feast or joy in the Church, we Orthodox first of all look back — for in our present life we depend on what happened in the past. We depend first of all, of course, on the first and the ultimate triumph — that of Christ Himself. Our faith is rooted in that strange defeat which became the most glorious victory — the defeat of a man nailed to the cross, who rose again from the dead, who is the Lord and the Master of the world.

This is the first triumph of Orthodoxy. Continue reading On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Farewell Sermon of St. Tikhon of Moscow

by St. Tikhon of Moscow

Our father among the saints Tikhon of Moscow, Enlightener of North America, was Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. While in America, he established his cathedral in New York City, and presided over a vast archdiocese, encouraging and authorizing many publications in the English language. Among these, he encouraged the translation of the Eastern liturgy into English by Isabel Florence Hapgood, and he wrote an extensive catechism based on the Nicene Creed and the Our Father.

Given on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, during Great Lent in 1907, St. Tikhon of Moscow’s Last Sermon during His Years of Ministry (1898 to 1907) as the Archbishop of the American Missionary Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. This translation is of the text as it appears in the Russian-American Messenger.1

Farewell Sermon

This Sunday is called “The Sunday of Orthodoxy” or “The Triumph of Orthodoxy,” since on this day the Holy Church solemnly commemorates her victory over Iconoclasm and other heresies. And this triumph of Orthodoxy took place not just a thousand years ago. No – for due to the mercy of God, the Church up to this day, now here and now there, gains victory and is triumphant over her enemies – and she has many of them. Continue reading Farewell Sermon of St. Tikhon of Moscow