Synodikon of Orthodoxy

From the introductory paragraph to the Synodikon of Orthodoxy:

The text of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy has been much altered over the centuries, chiefly by the addition of material and names that postdate the Restoration of the Icons in 843. This is the case with the text that is printed in the current Triodia. Some of the more zealous contemporary Orthodox even include condemnations of such things as the ‘pan-heresy of Ecumenism‘. It is probably impossible to reconstruct the original text exactly. However the British Library possesses a manuscript, (BL. Additional 28816) written in 1110 or 1111 by a monk Andrew of the monastery of Oleni in Moraea, which may give some idea of the scope and contents of the original. In the opinion of Jean Gouillard, the editor of the critical edition of the Synodikon, ‘the London manuscript is certainly one of the best witnesses to the primitive and purely Constantinopolitan form of the Synodikon’. The manuscript was unknown to him when he prepared his edition and has in consequence been generally neglected.

This text of the Synodikon is written at the end of a manuscript of the Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse, with the somewhat misleading title ‘Definition [Horos] of the 7th Holy Synod’. The text of the Synodikon is finely written in red and black and is provided throughout with ekphonetic notation. The text was, therefore, intended to be solemnly chanted, like the Apostle or Gospel, and not simply read. A number of names, in particular those of Symeon Stylites and Theodore the Studite, are given special prominence. The words ’God will give their kingdom peace. Heavenly King, protect those on earth!’ are, it seems, peculiar to this manuscript. The seven numbered paragraphs are so numbered in the margin of the manuscript.

What is normally prayed on the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the following paragraph:

As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honouring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshipping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honouring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration.

This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world.

But, revealing my perversity, the fun stuff is in the anathemas!

So, below the jump are selections of the anathemas.

On everything that has been written or spoken against the holy Patriarchs Germanus, Tarasius, Nicephorus and Methodius, Ignatius, Photius, Nicephorus, Antony and Nicolas:


On every innovation and action contrary to the tradition of the Church, and the teaching and pattern of the holy and celebrated Fathers, or anything that shall be done after this:

Anathema! . . .

On those who accept with their reason the incarnate economy of God the Word, but will not allow that this can be beheld through images, and therefore affect to receive our salvation in words, but deny it in reality:


On those who wickedly make play with the word ‘uncircumscribed’ and therefore refuse to depict in images Christ, our true God, who likewise shared our flesh and blood,[Cf. Hebrews 2:14] and therefore show themselves to be fantasiasts:


On those who admit, even against their will, the prophetic visions, but will not accept the making of images of what they saw—O wonder!—even before the Incarnation of the Word, but emptily say that the incomprehensible and unseen essence itself was seen by those who beheld it, or conclude that these things make manifest images, figures and forms of the truth to those who see them, but will not accept that the Word become man, and his sufferings for our sake, may be depicted in icons:


On those who hear and understand the Lord saying, If you believed Moses, you would have believed me,[John 5:46] and the rest, and Moses saying, The Lord our God will raise up for you from your brothers a prophet like me,[Deuteronomy 18:15; cf. Acts 3:22] and then say that the prophet is received, but that they will not represent the grace of the prophet and the salvation he brought for the whole world through images, even though he was seen and lived among men and women, and cured sufferings and sickness with mighty acts of healing, and was crucified, and buried, and rose again, and did and suffered all this for our sake; on those who will not accept that these works of salvation, accomplished for the whole world, may be seen in icons, nor honoured and venerated in them:


On those who remain in the icon-fighting heresy, or rather the Christ-fighting apostasy, and neither wish to be led to their salvation through the Mosaic legislation, nor choose to live piously in accordance with apostolic teaching, nor are persuaded to turn from their error by the advice and exhortations of the Fathers, nor are abashed by the harmony of every part of the ecumenical Church of God, but once and for all have subjected themselves to the lot of the Jews and the pagans[lit: Greeks]; for immediately they have uttered blasphemies against the Archetype, and have not blushed to dare to make the image of the archetype identical with the archetype himself. On those, therefore, who have heedlessly accepted this error, and have stuffed their ears against very divine word and spiritual teaching, as they are already putrefied, and cut themselves off from the common body of the Church:


Anastasius, Constantine and Nicetas, those who started off the Isaurian heresies, unholy men and leaders to ruin:


Theodotus, Antony and John, procurers one for another of vices, and false successors of impiety:


Paul who turned back to Saul, and Theodorus called Gastes, and Stephen the Molutes, as well as Theodore Krithinus, and Louloudios the lion, and anyone who is like them in uttering impiety, to whatever category of clergy or any other honour or way of life they belong; on all these who continue in their impiety:


To all the heretics: Anathema!

Those who apply the sayings of the divine Scripture that are directed against idols to the august icons of Christ our God and his saints:


Those who share the opinion of those who mock and dishonour the august icons:


Those who say that Christians treat the icons like gods:


Those who say that another, apart from Christ our God, delivered us from the error of idols


Those who dare to say that the Catholic Church has accepted idols, thus overthrowing the whole mystery and mocking the faith of Christians

Anathema! . . .

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