- Dear List,
There are less and less of us in true orthodoxy. (This latter expression is a pleonasm and a sign of the ubiquity of heresy within "orthodox" churches).
We thus become more and more familiar with so much needed encouraging messages from saints to us, small flocks. Even if our minds know that many are called and few are chosen, we are sometimes frightened to be so few and considered to be a sect for that reason. So many of us are tempted to join the powerful and numerous ones.
Below is one more of those warm encouragements, which are good to hear. Saint Nicephor insisted that obedience may never go against the purity of the faith and stressed the importance of keeping the Tradition as a most precious source of Truth.
"If only very few remain in Orthodoxy and piety, they are the Church and the authority and protection of the Ecclesiastical Traditions are with them."
Saint Nikiforos, the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople (758-828). Born in Constantinople during the imperial persecution against holy Icons. After serious secular studies, he became secretary of young emperor Constantin VI. He was elected to participate in the Seventh Council of Nicea, where he was present and active as imperial commissioner.
He was elected patriarch while still a lay person. He received successively and quickly all the sacerdotal orders. His quick rise displeased the monks of the Studion. He faced many other difficulties, particularly with Emperor Leo the Armenian who fought the veneration of Holy Icons.
He was banned and preferred to stop arguing with the pseudo-Synod at the orders of the emperor. During his fourteen years in exile, he wrote a remarkable treaty of theology on the veneration of Icons.