Sunday of Orthodoxy
The Triumph of the Icon of Christ in 843 is the Triumph of Orthodoxy
It is fitting that the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy be followed by a brief review of what Our Father Among the Saints Photius First Among Patriarchs and Equal to the Apostles (Feb. 6) established during his service in the ninth century to the Church as the Patriarch of Constantinople and which, like Saint Irenaeus’ (Aug. 23) establishment of the Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the second century, remains fixed and unshaken after eighteen centuries as a beacon of Orthodoxy to all.
Reshaping, after his consecration in A.D. 858, his Patriarchate with one purpose in mind, that is, the support of the Triumph of Orthodoxy in 843 under Saints Patriarch Methodius (June 14) and the Empress Theodora (Feb. 11) —her incorrupt relics rest on the Island of Corfu—Saint Photius purged the ranks of his clergy—Bishops, Priests and Deacons—of any and all who had supported or even given consent, albeit unwillingly, to the doctrines of the Iconoclasts, that is, to those who hate the Icon of Christ. Please remember that the first record of a martyr for the holy Icons is of Saint Theodosia of Constantinople in A.D. 717 (May 29), Protomartyr of the Holy Icons. She knocked the ladder on which a soldier stood out from underneath him as he tried to tear out the icon of Christ above the Brazen Gate into Constantinople.
Unyielding, St. Photius exposed the “Christ-fighters” for what they were. Like the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical council, he took the pure standpoint of any pious Orthodox Christian and viewed Iconoclasm as a direct denial of the Incarnation of the Son of God for our sakes. If we have no icon of our Christ, we have no salvation; if we cannot paint Him, He never existed; if we cannot, in our veneration of the Icon of Christ with our kisses, with our hymns, with the censing of the clergy, in plain language, if we cannot “reach out and touch Him” we are lost forever. If there are those whose goal it is to do away with the holy Icons, then they might as well do away with us, too, for if we suffer for Christ, He will raise us up together with Himself in glory.
In St. Photius’ letters to his godson, Michael, King of Bulgaria, he called the iconoclasts “Christ-fighters, worse than the Jews” (PG 103, p. 695D). Elsewhere, he stated, “In your mind, you [iconoclasts], are conducting an ignoble war against Christ, not openly and directly, but by means of the icon” (PG 101 p. 949D). Saint Photius as a young man, together with his parents, had been anathematized by the iconoclasts. Well did he know what the Christ-fighters were about. Although 140 years separate them, Saints Theodosia Protomartyr for the holy Icons and Saint Patriarch Photios stand shoulder-to-shoulder in their Confession and Defense of the holy Icons, and in particular in their defense of the icon of Christ, that is, in defense of Orthodoxy. The Triumph of the Icon of Christ in the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787 is, in 843, under Saints Methodius, Patriarch, and Theodore, Empress, proclaimed as the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
Let us all stand with them as our mighty, unwearying protectors. They who are bathed in joy and light, in God Himself, stand ready to receive us who long to live with them.
The Synodicon of the Holy and Ecumenical
Seventh Council for Orthodoxy
Deacon: Let us attend.
Priest: Peace be to all.
People: And to thy spirit.
Priest or Reader: The Synodicon of the Holy and Ecumenical
Seventh Council for Orthodoxy.
[After Saint Methodius was elected Patriarch, the �?νδημοῦσα (constituted of bishops “in residence” at Constantinople) Synod promulgated this Synodicon, which was formerly read on March 11, A.D. 843,
the First Sunday of Orthodoxy.]
(After more than 8 pages of Eternal Memory to
the Confessors and Defenders of Orthodoxy
To those who in words accept the incarnate economy of the Word of God,
but who cannot tolerate its representation in icons, thus in word they pretend to accept,
but in fact deny, our salvation,
Then, after 17 pages of Anathemas,
we hear on March 11, 843, the final two anathemas:
If anyone does not worship our Lord Jesus Christ depicted in icons according to His humanity, let him be,
To all heretics,
The True Vine Published by The Holy Orthodox Church in North America; Issue Numbers 27 & 28 Spring 2000 The Synodicon of the Holy and Seventh Council for Orthodoxy pp. 35-82 (The True Vine P.O. Box 129 Roslindale MA 02131).
Editor’s Note: Frequently throughout the pages recording the Sessions of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 787 A.D. we find the words, “without having added anything or taken away anything” which stand as abbreviation for the following text of holy Scripture:
I know that whatsoever things God has done, they shall be forever: it is impossible to add to it, and it is impossible to take away from it: and God has done it, that men may fear before Him. Ecclesiastes LXX 3:14
And to our God be glory.