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[hocna] SYNODICON OF ORTHODOXY

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    We are pleased to announce that our Diocese’s forthcoming issue of The True Vine will be a double issue, containing the unabridged text of the Synodicon of
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2000
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      We are pleased to announce that our Diocese’s forthcoming issue of The
      True Vine will be a double issue, containing the unabridged text of the
      Synodicon of
      Orthodoxy, translated for the first time into the English language. As
      Metropolitan
      Hierotheos writes, "The Synodicon of Orthodoxy is an excellent and very
      concise text,
      which is a summing up of the whole orthodox teaching of our Church. . .
      . Our positive or
      negative stand towards this text shows to what extent we are animated by
      the orthodox
      mind of the Church or are possessed by scholasticism." Would that all
      took these words
      to heart and put the Synodicon of Orthodoxy into practice.

      Every Orthodox Christian church and parish library should have this
      indispensable issue
      of The True Vine.

      BELOW IS A SIGNIFICANT ARTICLE ON THE SYNODICON OF ORTHODOXY
      --------------------------------------------------------------
      SYNODICON OF ORTHODOXY and its Significance for Orthodox Christians
      Today

      What significance can an ancient document, such as the Synodicon of
      Orthodoxy, hold for
      our Church as we approach the 21st century?

      One prominent and well-known new-calendar bishop—Metropolitan Hierotheos
      of
      Nafpaktos, Greece—has given us a timely and relevant answer to that
      question. In his
      recent book, The Mind of the Orthodox Church (translated by Esther
      Williams, and
      published in 1998 by the Birth of the Theotokos Monastery in Levadia,
      Greece), His
      Eminence writes:

      The divinely inspired theology of the saints

      and the devout mind of the Church

      Anyone who studies the Synodicon of Orthodoxy will surely
      observe, when he
      comes to the chapters that refer to the heresy of Barlaam and
      Akindynos, that
      this phrase occurs six times: "against the God-inspired
      theology of the saints
      and the devout mind of the Church." And indeed he will observe
      that the
      Council uses the same phrase in opposing all the heretical
      views of Barlaam
      and Akindynos and in referring to the teaching of the Church
      on this particular
      subject. The heretics are condemned because they do not
      believe and do not
      confess "in accordance with the God-inspired theology of the
      saints and the
      devout mind of the Church."

      We must notice that the professions of the saints are
      characterised as
      God-inspired. And of course divine inspiration is linked with
      Revelation. The
      saints experienced God, they attained experience of divine
      grace, they knew
      God personally, they reached Pentecost, they received
      Revelation and
      therefore are characterised as divinely inspired and unerring
      teachers of the
      Church.

      We should underline particularly the method which they used
      and the way they
      lived in order to become divinely inspired by grace. This way
      is hesychasm,
      which is made explicit in the three stages of spiritual
      perfection: purification
      of the heart, illumination of the nous, and deification. These
      deified and
      God-inspired saints are the Prophets in the Old Testament, the
      Apostles and
      the holy Fathers. Therefore, the Synodicon of Orthodoxy says:
      "As the Prophets
      saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church received, as the
      Teachers laid
      down as doctrine, as the world has agreed, as grace has
      shone." So there is
      identity of what has been experienced by all the saints,
      precisely because they
      followed the same method, they experienced the whole mystery
      of the Cross,
      which is our flight from sin, the flight of sin from within
      us, and the ascent to
      the vision of God.

      Furthermore, the divinely inspired teaching of the saints is
      closely connected
      with the devout mind of the Church. The Church produces the
      saints and the
      saints express the devout mind of the Church. Saints cannot be
      thought of
      apart from the Church and saints are unthinkable who have
      heretical and
      erroneous views on serious theological questions.

      In the Church, as St. Gregory Palamas says, there are "those
      initiated by
      experience" and those who follow and revere these tested ones.
      Thus, if we do
      not have our own experience on these matters, we must
      nevertheless follow
      the teaching of those who see God, the deified and experienced
      saints. It is
      only in this way that we have the mind of the Church and the
      consciousness of
      the Church. Otherwise we open the path to self-destruction in
      various ways.

      We must constantly believe and confess "in accordance with the
      divinely
      inspired theology of the saints and the devout mind of the
      Church."

      The Synodicon of Orthodoxy is an excellent and very concise
      text, which is a
      summing up of the whole orthodox teaching of our Church. This
      is why the
      Church has inserted it in its worship, on the Sunday of
      Orthodoxy, and it is
      read in an attitude of attention and prayer. It is a holy
      text. And we must
      harmonise with it all our thinking, and above all, our life.

      We need to study it closely in order to recognise what
      constitutes the
      orthodox faith and orthodox life. And, in fact, the orthodox
      way of life is free of
      scholasticism and moralism. It is hesychastic and theological.

      Our positive or negative stand towards this text shows to what
      extent we are
      animated by the orthodox mind of the Church or are possessed
      by
      scholasticism. We are of the Church insofar as we are of the
      holy Fathers.

      To receive a copy of the first unabridged English translation of The
      Synodicon of
      Orthodoxy, please send $9.00 (U.S.), plus postage and handling to:

      The True Vine
      P.O. Box 129
      Roslindale, MA 02131-0129

      Postage Rates for 1 Copy of The True Vine

      U.S. First Class: $1.75 (anywhere in U.S.)

      Canada (printed matter) $1.45 Canada (Air Mail): $2.10

      Overseas (surface) $2.50 (anywhere)

      Overseas (Air Mail) Western Hemisphere — $3.00

      Europe — $3.90

      THE SYNODICON WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE AT ST. NEKTARIOS BOOKSTORE, TORONTO
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