Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Feast of Orthodoxy

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Feast of Orthodoxy

by Adrian Fortescue


(or SUNDAY)

The first Sunday of the Great Forty days (Lent) in the Byzantine Calendar (sixth Sunday before Easter), kept in memory of the final defeat of Iconoclasm and the restoration of the holy icons to the churches on 19 February (which was the first Sunday of Lent), 842 (see ICONOCLASM). A perpetual feast on the anniversary of that day was ordained by the Synod of Constantinople, and is one of the great feasts of the year among Orthodox and Byzantine Uniats. The name "Orthodoxy" has gradually affected the character of the feast. Originally commemorating only the defeat of Iconoclasm, the word was gradually understood in a more general sense as opposition to all heterodoxy. In this way, though its first occasion is not forgotten, the feast has become one in honour of the true Faith in general. This is shown by its special service. After the Orthros and before the holy Liturgy a procession is made with crosses and pictures to some destined spot (often merely round the church). Meanwhile a Canon, attributed to St. Theodore of Studium, is sung. Arrived at the place, the Synodikon is read. This Synodikon begins with the memory of certain saints, confessors, and heroes of the faith, to each of whose names the people cry out: "Eternal Memory!" three times. Then follows a long list of heretics of all kinds, to each of which the answer is: "Anathema" once or thrice. The heretics comprise all the old offenders of any reputation, Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites, Monothelites, Iconoclasts, and so on. Then comes again "Eternal Memory" to certain pious emperors, from Constantine on. There is inevitably considerable difference between the Orthodox and Uniat lists. The Orthodox acclaim Photius, Cerularius, other anti-Roman patriarchs and many schismatical emperors. They curse Honorius among the Monothelites, the opponents of Hesychasm. The Uniat Synodikon is purged of these names. In Russia politics have their place in the Synodikon; the emperor and his family are acclaimed; all are cursed who deny the divine right of the Russian monarchy and all who "dare to stir up insurrection and rebellion against it". The text of the Canon, Synodikon, etc., and the rubrics will be found in either Triodion, Orthodox or Uniat.

ALLATIUS, De dominicis et hebdomadis Grœcorum, xv, appendix to De ecclesiœ occid. et orient. perpetuo consensu (Cologne, 1648); NILLES, Kalendarium manuale (2nd ed., Innsbruck, 1897), 101-18.

ADRIAN FORTESCUE.