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OFFICE OF THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE SEVENTH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

Note that on the 11th of this month, if it falls on Sunday, or on the first Sunday following it, we sing the Office of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council.

AT VESPERS

After the Opening Psalm, we recite Blessed is the man. At Lord, I have cried we insert 10 Stichera and we sing 3 of the Resurrection, 1 by Anatolios and 6 Prosomia of the Holy Fathers.

Tone 6

The Patriarch Germanos the Younger collected together in one Canon the seven Councils of the Fathers, which had taken place at different times, excellently writing together and strengthening their teachings; he also presents them to the Lord as unsleeping advocates of salvation and fellow-shepherds of the flock.

The letter of the Law laid down for the children of the Hebrews that the heptad was to be honoured, and they devoted themselves to a shadow and reverenced it. But you, O Fathers, came together in a heptad of Councils, at the behest of God, who fashioned the universe in a hexad of days and blessed the seventh, and you made the heptad even more honourable by laying down a definition of the Faith.

Thrice-blessed Fathers, you have handed down that the Trinity is the cause of the birth of the world for all things that are created; for with mystic reason you established three and four Councils, and you appeared as champions of orthodox reason, for you showed that while there are four elements, it is the Trinity which created them and made the world.

It would have been sufficient for the Prophet Elisaius to have bent over once at most to breathe life into the child that lay dead; nevertheless he bent over seven times and lay right over him, thus like a scout he foretold your comings together, by which you breathed life into the slaying of God the Word, by putting to death Arius and his boon companions.

Revered Fathers, with wisdom you sewed together the torn garment of Christ, rent asunder by baying hounds, for you could not bear to look on his nakedness, as Sem and Japhet of old could not on their father’s, and you put the parricide to shame along with his supporters: Arius, whose name the madness bears.

As true shepherds you bravely drove away the Macedioniusses, the Nestoriusses, the Eftychisses, the Dioscorusses, Apollinariusses and Sabellioseverusses, exposed as dangerous wolves in sheepskins, far from the Saviour’s flock stripped of their fleeces, making them thrice-wretched; therefore we call you blessed.

Glory. Tone 6.

Let us praise to-day the mystical trumpets of the Spirit, the Godbearing Fathers, who sang a harmonious melody of theology in the midst of the Church, one Trinity, unchanging Essence and Godhead; the overthrowers of Arius, the champions of the Orthodox, who ever intercede with the Lord that he may have mercy on our souls.

Both now. Theotokion. The 1st of the Tone.

Entrance, O Joyful Light, the Prokeimenon of the day, and the Readings.

The Reading is from Genesis.
[
14,14-20]

Now when Abram heard that Lot his nephew had been taken captive, he numbered his own home-born servants three hundred and eighteen, and pursued the enemy as far as Dan. And he fell upon them by night, he and his servants, and smote them and pursued them as far as Chobal, which is on the left of Damascus. And he brought back all the cavalry of Sodom, and he brought back Lot his nephew and all his goods and the women and the people. And the king of Sodom came out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chodologomor and the kings with him, to the valley of Sabi; this was the plain of Kings. And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was Priest of the Most High. And he blessed Abram and said: Blessed is Abram by the most high God, who created the heaven and the earth. And blessed is the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.

The Reading from Deuteronomy.
[
1,8-11 & 15-17b]

Moses said to the sons of Israel: See, I have delivered the land before you; go in and inherit the land which I swore to your fathers, to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, to give it to them and to their seed after them. And I spoke to you at that time saying: I alone shall not be able to bear you. The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are to-day as the stars of heaven in multitude. May the Lord the God of our fathers multiply you a thousand times more than you are, and bless you as he has spoken to you. And I took from you wise and understanding and prudent men, and I set them to rule over you, captains of thousands and hundreds and fifties and tens and recorders for your judges. And I commanded your judges at that time, saying: Hear cases between your brethren, and judge rightly between a man and his brother and the stranger who is with him. You shall not have respect to persons in judging. You shall hear the small as well as the great. You shall not shrink before any man’s person; for the judgement is God’s.

The Reading from Deuteronomy.
[10,14-18 & 20-21]

Moses said to the sons of Israel: Behold the heaven and the highest heaven belong to the Lord your God, the earth and all that is in it. the Lord preferred your fathers, to love them: and he chose their seed after them, you above all nations, as it is at this day. So circumcise the hardness of your heart and stiffen your neck no longer. For the Lord your God is God of Gods and the Lord of Lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality, who takes no bribe. He executes judgement for the stranger, the orphan and the widow; and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. You shall fear the Lord your God and serve him, and to him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in his name. He is your boast, he your God, who has done for you the great and wonderful things which your eyes have seen.

At the Liti, the usual.

Glory. Tone 3.

Holy Fathers, you have become sure guardians of the Apostolic traditions; for by teaching the orthodox doctrine of the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, you overthrew in Council the blasphemy of Arius. With him you refuted Macedonius, the opponent of the Spirit, and condemned Nestorius, Eftychis and Dioscorus, Sabellius and Severus the Leaderless. We implore you: beg that we who have been delivered from their error may preserve our life spotless in the faith.

Both now. Theotokion.

Mother of God, the protection of all who ask, in you we trust, in you we boast, in you is all our hope. Intercede with him who was born from you on behalf of your unprofitable servants.

At the Aposticha, from the Oktoichos.

Glory. Of the Fathers. Tone 4.

Let us with faith celebrate to-day the yearly commemoration of the god-bearing Fathers, who were assembled from the whole world in the radiant city of Nicaea, as we reverence the gatherings of the Orthodox; for they, their minds attuned to true religion, overthrew the godless teaching of Arius, and in council banished him from the Catholic Church; and in the Symbol of faith, which they precisely and devoutly laid down, they taught all to confess clearly the Son of God as consubstantial and co-eternal, and existing before the ages. And so we too, following their divine teachings and firm in our belief, worship the Son and the all-holy Spirit with the Father, in one Godhead, a consubstantial Trinity.

Both now. Theotokion. The same Tone.

Assent to the entreaties of your servants, All-blameless one, putting an end to the uprisings of dangers for us and rescuing us from every trouble; for we have you as our only safe and sure anchor, and we have gained you as protection. May we who call upon you, Sovereign Lady, not be put to shame; hasten at the entreaty of those who cry out to you with faith: Hail, Sovereign Lady help of all, joy and shelter and salvation of our souls.

Resurrection Apolytikion.

Glory. Of the Fathers. Tone 8.

You are glorified above all, Christ our God, who established our Fathers as beacons on the earth, and through them guided us all to the true faith. O greatly compassionate one, glory to you!

Both now. Theotokion.

You were born for us from a Virgin and endured crucifixion, Good Lord; by your death you despoiled death, and revealed resurrection as God; do not despise those whom you fashioned with your own hand; show your love for mankind, O Merciful; accept the Mother of God who bore you, as she intercedes for us, and save, O Saviour, a people in despair.

And Dismissal.

AT MATINS

The usual Reading from the Psalter; but instead of Psalm 118 we say the Polyeleos [not in the Athonite Typica]. The Resurrection Kathismata and the rest likewise as usual.

Then the Canons of the Oktoichos [to 8], and of the Holy Fathers to 6.

The Canon of the Saints, whose Acrostic is:
I sing the seventh synod of the blest.

A composition of Theophanes.

Ode 1. Tone 8.

dropcap-i.gif (962 bytes)mpart to me, Lord, who now desire to sing the Seventh Council, the assembly of the seven gifts of the Paraclete, who made it wise with tongues of fire and silenced all blasphemous prattling.

dropcap-s.gif (1042 bytes)ince the beginning the seventh is the best of numbers; for the complete rest from God’s creative work took place originally on the seventh day; and now the cessation of all heresies at the Seventh Council.

dropcap-i.gif (962 bytes)n Nicea of old the choir of the Fathers, having vanquished Arius, enemy of God, with their shepherd’s rod, strengthened the Church with orthodox doctrines; and now in this same city their united ranks have put the iconoclasts to shame.

Theotokion.

dropcap-n.gif (1140 bytes)ow as the Fathers devoutly taught, we faithfully confess a virgin womb, which bore without pangs the fleshless in flesh; and we depict and worship his likeness, and greet it with honour.

Ode 3.

dropcap-g.gif (1071 bytes)uided by Christ the godly Chief Shepherds, lest his Church, which cannot be broken, might be shaken, shook to their foundations as partners of Antichrist those who wished to shake the Church to its foundations.

dropcap-t.gif (995 bytes)he assembly of the Fathers cleans up foul and muddy torrents by drawing water from the springs of salvation, and quenches the thirst of Christ’s thirsty people with the streams of their teachings.

dropcap-h.gif (1068 bytes)ere in the shining city of Nicea the seventh assembly of lovers of Christ took place against those who truly hated him, the Christians’ accusers; its advocates the Sovereigns Irene and Constantine.

Theotokion.

dropcap-e.gif (1057 bytes)very impious man, who does not honour the holy image of the Mother of God, and does not proclaim that she bore Christ as God and man, let him go hence and be sent to burn unceasingly in the fire.

Kathisma. Tone 4.

Most blessed Fathers, inspired by God, you were shown to the world as truly brilliant beacons for the world, by melting like wax the heresies of the blasphemous prattlers, quenching the burning confusions of the slanderers.

Glory. The same.

Both now. Theotokion.

Come speedily to help us, pure Virgin Mother; deliver us from enemies who blaspheme you and do not worship you; shatter all the idle prattling of the heresies; let them know that you alone are Mother of God, who save the Orthodox by your intercessions.

Ode 4.

dropcap-s.gif (1042 bytes)word and arrow, God’s word, in hand, the godlike Fathers utterly slaughtered all those ill disposed to the sign of the cross and who likewise do not honour the images of Christ, the Mother of God and all the Saints.

dropcap-e.gif (1057 bytes)ven as seven trumpets on the seventh circuit threw down the walls of Jericho; so the seven Councils brought down to chaos the whole band that had risen up against God, at the seventh assembly of the well-tuned trumpets of the Spirit.

dropcap-v.gif (1054 bytes)aunting a youthful brashness, and burning with God’s zeal, the assembled Fathers, like Elias, put to death the priests of shame; therefore with boldness they firmly taught the worship of Christ’s image.

Theotokion.

dropcap-e.gif (1057 bytes)ver pure, you are my hope, and you are my song, you are my harbour and you are my pilotage, you who without union bore God incarnate, the Word of the Father; therefore without doubting, empowered with your strength, I venerate your image.

Ode 5.

dropcap-n.gif (1140 bytes)ow the revered Fathers, having deliberated together with lofty thought, have condemned the Iconoclasts as thinkers of strange thoughts; and decreed, as is fitting, that honour be paid to Christ’s image.

dropcap-t.gif (995 bytes)he time of joy is now, the day of salvation has newly appeared; let us therefore rejoice and joyfully cry out to Christ: Give us your peace, at the prayers of the Fathers of the Seventh Council, O Lover of mankind.

Theotokion.

dropcap-h.gif (1068 bytes)e, the Son of God, through his merciful compassion, was born from the Virgin without change, bearing as his own what was alien; and willingly He appears circumscribed by its form, He who in his essence is uncircumscribed.

Ode 6.

dropcap-s.gif (1042 bytes)weetness and rejoicing the mountains have rained down; for the multitude of heretics has been scattered, which exuded bitter poison: the rejection of the holy images.

dropcap-y.gif (1057 bytes)ea, let heaven and earth in harmony celebrate the greatness of the daughter of God; for she is magnified and casts down those who belittle her.

Theotokion.

dropcap-n.gif (1140 bytes)ew birth He gave me, the Son, of old of the Father without mother, and divinely born of a Mother without father; therefore making an image I greet the one who gave birth together with the One who was born.

Kontakion. Tone 2.

The Son who shone ineffably from the Father, was born twofold in nature from a woman; knowing Him we do not deny the representation of his form; but depicting it devoutly, we honour it faithfully; and so, holding to the true faith, the Church greets the image of Christ’s incarnation.

The Ikos

The all-merciful God, wishing to rouse us always to the perfect memory of his incarnation, has delivered to us this notion: the depiction of his honoured form through the painting of images; that seeing it with our sight we may believe what we have heard in speech; as we recognise the action, name, appearance and struggles of the holy men, and Christ the prize-giver who gives crowns of victory to the Holy Athletes and Martyrs; through whom the Church lately more clearly holding to the true faith, greets the image of Christ’s incarnation.

After the Synaxarion of the day

On the same day we celebrate the memory of the Holy and blest Fathers, who assembled for a second time in Nicea in the reign of the devout and Christ-loving Sovereigns Constantine and Irene, against those who claimed, impiously, ignorantly and unthinkingly that God’s Church worshipped idols and who cast down the revered and holy images.

Verses
The Champions with the weapons of your words,
O Word, the foes of honoured icons trounced.

This holy, seventh Ecumenical Council took place in Nicea a second time, in the reign of the Emperor Constantine and his mother Irene, when Hadrian was Pope of Rome, Tarasios Patriarch of Constantinople, Politianos of Alexandria, Theodoret of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem. Three hundred and sixty five Holy Fathers were assembled. They all assembled against the Iconoclasts, and they condemned in writing every heresy, the leaders of the heresies and then all the Iconoclasts; placing on record and decreeing that anyone who does not venerate the holy images is a stranger to the Orthodox faith; that the honour given to the image passes to its prototype; and that whoever worships and honours the image, worships the person of the one depicted therein. And so when they had thus decreed and had strengthened the Orthodox faith, each one returned to his own See.

Through the prayers of the Holy Fathers, O God, have mercy upon us.

Ode 7.

dropcap-o.gif (1089 bytes)verthrown are the leaders of heresy by the teachings of the inspired men, who rightly transfer the honour given to the types to their archetypes, as Basil the Great said: Blessed is the God of our Fathers.

dropcap-d.gif (1089 bytes)ecorated now with shining images the churches are made beautiful; and so the world, through the churches, sings to the beauty far above all mortals, together with those who sing: Blessed is the God of our Fathers.

dropcap-o.gif (1089 bytes)ut of the way you impious, the light has dawned, the darkness is far off; and so all things filled with light sing the praise of Christ in good heart and say: Blessed is the God of our Fathers.

Theotokion.

dropcap-f.gif (1036 bytes)or all the only hope of salvation, the all-pure Sovereign Lady, who awe-inspiringly gave birth to Christ the King of kings, bearing him as an infant in her arms, is venerated together with him in painting, as the Fathers say.

Ode 8.

dropcap-t.gif (995 bytes)he assembly of the Fathers excellently decreed, for those who honour God, a relative worship and the re-erection of the sacred image of Christ; but we lovers of true religion, as obedient children, celebrate their yearly memorial, and with longing we kiss Christ’s image.

dropcap-h.gif (1068 bytes)ow fiercely the arrogant bowed the humble down, and repulsed the attacks of the lovers of virtue, because they opposed their inspired deeds; but the Fathers of the Seventh Council, assembled in Nicea, at once brought down their pride far more fiercely.

dropcap-e.gif (1057 bytes)ven as the Psalmist said, the blows and lashes of those who think like infants become infants’ arrows for those who think like the old; and by God’s power many tongues of those who speak blasphemies against the Highest become feeble; and each one acknowledges the Father, the Son and the Spirit, one God, only cause of all things.

Theotokion.

dropcap-b.gif (1094 bytes)y his mercy the Creator is willingly created as an infant from your pure blood, guarding you wholly purified after child-birth, O Pure one, and purifying his polluted image; therefore in images he is depicted with you, having become mortal by nature, who is God by nature.

Ode 9.

dropcap-l.gif (1018 bytes)ord most mighty and King of all, great in might and counsel, who hold the universe in being, incomprehensible, alone God, strengthen the Church, protecting her by your orthodoxy, at the entreaties of the all-glorious Fathers, who have condemned false doctrine.

dropcap-e.gif (1057 bytes)ven on earth, O Saints, whose minds were in heaven, you were found worthy of great honours, for you gave Christ’s image a relative honour; and now having laid aside the shadow and the covering of the flesh, you see him in person face to face, and are found worthy of yet greater things.

dropcap-s.gif (1042 bytes)o that we might be chastened you provoked an assault by barbaric cavalry with all their host, do you shatter it yourself and their violence against us; and fight with the King who has shown his trust in you, who achieve all things, at the confident prayers of the Fathers whose memory we celebrate.

Theotokion.

dropcap-t.gif (995 bytes)he mystery of your awe-inspiring child-bearing no mortal mind can fathom; but no more than can the lofty mind of Angels that above nature you gave birth to God incarnate; therefore, acknowledging you as Mother of God and depicting you with him, we magnify you.

Exapostilarion.

O Fathers with minds in heaven, who were gathered in the Seventh Council, offer an insistent supplication to the Trinity that those who sing the praise of your divine assembly may be delivered from every heresy and eternal punishment and may reach the Kingdom.

Theotokion.

O Lord supremely good, at the prayers of your Mother and of the Fathers gathered in the seven Councils, establish the Church and strengthen the Faith; and make all sharers in the Kingdom of heaven, when you come on earth to judge all creation.

At Lauds we sing 4 Stichera of the Resurrection and 3, Prosomia, of the Fathers, doubling the first.

Tone 6.

Having welded together all spiritual knowledge, and having examined together by the Divine Spirit the heavenly and revered Creed, the revered Fathers, under God’s inspiration, traced it out. In it, clearly following the teachings of the Apostles, they most distinctly teach that the Word is without beginning with his Begetter and most surely consubstantial. Renowned they are, truly all-blessed and godly-minded.

Verse: Blessed are you, Lord, the God of our Fathers.

Having received the spiritual brilliance of the Holy Spirit, and divinely inspired, the good heralds proclaimed the supernatural oracle, brief in words, but rich in meaning; the blest defenders of Gospel teachings and the godly traditions, whose revelation they clearly received from on high, and, enlightened, set forth the Faith taught them by God.

Verse: Gather to him his holy ones.

Having collected together all their skill as shepherds, and stirred up their most just anger, the godly Shepherds, as Christ’s truest servants, the most sacred initiates of the inspired proclamation, most justly drove off the fierce and ravening wolves with the sling of the Spirit, having cast as from a sling from the body of the Church those fallen as though sick of a deadly and incurable sickness.

Glory. Tone 8.

The choir of holy Fathers, having hurried together from the ends of the whole world, proclaimed the doctrine of the one being and nature of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and clearly delivered to the Church the mystery of the godhead. Praising them with faith, let us call them blessed as we say: O godly host, inspired warriors of the Lord’s battle-line, brightly shining stars of the spiritual firmament, impregnable towers of the mystical Sion, sweet-scented flowers of Paradise, pure golden mouths of the Word, Nicea’s boast, the whole world’s ornament, intercede insistently on behalf of our souls.

Both now. You are most blessed.

Great Doxology and Dismissal.

At the Liturgy, Typika and Beatitudes of the Tone and from the [3rd] and 6th Odes of the Canon of the Fathers.

Communion.

The just will be held in eternal memory.


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Archimandrite Ephrem

This page was last updated on 10 May 2009