Today the Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy. See my blog entry for Sunday, 4 March 2012, for an account of the origin of this feast.
Today I attended our parish church in a city bright with sun but deep in snow. After Liturgy, the little children, holding their icons up before them, with many of their parents, circumambulated the nave following our priests with lights and incense, then gathered on the solea for the reading of the Synodicon of the Seventh Œcumenical Council:
‘As the Prophets beheld, as the Apostles taught, as the Church received, as the Teachers dogmatized, as the Universe agreed, as Grace illumined, as the Truth revealed, as falsehood passed away, as Wisdom presented, as Christ awarded:
‘Thus we declare, thus we assert, thus we proclaim Christ our true God and honour His saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in holy icons; on the one hand, worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord, and on the other hand honouring and venerating His Saints as true servants of the same Lord.
‘This is the Faith of the Apostles, this is the Faith of the Fathers, this is the Faith of the Orthodox, this is the Faith which has established the Universe.’
I could not help but feel the unbroken chain of feasts, taking place in every Orthodox church every first Sunday in Great and Holy Lent, stretching back more than a thousand years to that Sunday, 11 March 843, when the Empress Theodora re-proclaimed the decree of the 7th Oecumenical Council of 787 commanding the veneration of icons, which had been ignored by iconoclast emperors since 814. The restoration of the veneration of icons following the iconoclast controversy has become the type or symbol of the triumph of orthodoxy over heresy.
Those little children with their icons in our church in this city far distant from Constantinople are a witness that orthodoxy not only has triumphed but continues to triumph.
Occasional comments by a convert to Orthodoxy.