Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles
"Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed."
Canon LXV Of the Holy Apostles:
"If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated."
"Concerning the fact that those belonging to the Church must not be allowed to go visiting the cemeteries or the so called martyria of any heretics, for the purpose of prayer or of cure, but, on the contrary, those who do so, if they be among the faithful, shall be excluded from communion for a time until they repent and confess their having made a mistake, when they may be readmitted to communion."
"One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics."
3. Theological dialogue must not in any way be linked with prayer in common, or by joint participation in any liturgical or worship services whatsoever; or in other activities which might create the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts, on the one hand, Roman Catholics as part of the fulness of the Church, or, on the other hand, the Pope as the canonical bishop of Rome. Activities such as these mislead both the fulness of the Orthodox people and the Roman Catholics themselves, fostering among them a mistaken notion as to what Orthodoxy thinks of their teaching.
If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.
As for all persons who dare to violate the definition of the holy and great Synod convened in Nicaea in the presence of Eusebeia, the consort of the most God-beloved Emperor Constantine, concerning the holy festival of the soterial Pascha, we decree that they be excluded from Communion and be outcasts from the Church if they persist more captiously in objecting to the decisions that have been made as most fitting in regard thereto; and let these things be said with reference to laymen. But if any of the person occupying prominent positions in the Church, such as a Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon, after the adoption of this definition, should dare to insist upon having his own way, to the perversion of the laity, and to the disturbance of the church, and upon celebrating Pascha along with the Jews, the holy Synod has hence judged that person to be an alien to the Church, on the ground that he has not only become guilty of sin by himself, but has also been the cause of corruption and perversion among the multitude. Accordingly, it not only deposes such persons from the liturgy, but also those who dare to commune with them after their deposition. Moreover, those who have been deposed are to be deprived of the external honor too of which the holy Canon and God's priesthood have partaken.
See also the Sigillon of 1583 which anathematized the Gregorian (Papal) Calendar.
Schisms is the name applied to those who on account of ecclesiastical causes and remediable questions have developed a quarrel amongst themselves. Parasynagogues is the name applied to gatherings held by insubordinate presbyters or bishops, and those held by uneducated laities. As, for instance, when one has been arraigned for a misdemeanor held aloof from liturgy and refused to submit to the Canons, but laid claim to the presidency and liturgy for himself, and some other persons departed with him, leaving the catholic Church—that is a parasynagogue.
"If any Presbyter, condemning his own bishop, draw people aside and set up another altar, without finding anything wrong with the Bishop in point of piety and righteousness, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is an office-seeker. For he is a tyrant. Let the rest of clergymen be treated likewise, and all those who abet him. But let the laymen be excommunicated. Let these things be done after one, and a second, and a third request of the Bishop."
Interpretation (of Ss. Nikodemos and Agapios):
"Order sustains the coherence of both heavenly things and earthly things, according to St. Gregory the Theologian. So good order ought to be kept everywhere as helping coherence and preserving the established system, and especially among ecclesiastics, who need to know their own standards, and to avoid exceeding the limits and bounds of their own class. But as for Presbyters, and Deacons, and all clergymen they ought to submit to their own Bishop; the Bishops, in turn, to their own Metropolitan; the Metropolitans, to their own Patriarch. On this account the present Apostolical Canon ordains as follows: Any presbyter that scorns his own bishop, and without knowing that the latter is manifestly at fault either in point of piety or in point of righteousness—that is to say, without knowing him to be manifestly either heretical or unjust—proceeds to gather the Christians into a distinct group and to build another church, and should hold services seperately, without the permission and approval of his bishop in so doing, on the ground of his being an office-seeker he is to be deposed; since like a tyrant with violence and tyranny he is trying to wrest away the authority which belongs to his bishop. But also any other clergymen that agree with him in such apostasy must be deposed from office too just as he must; but as for those who are laymen, let them be excommunicated. These things, however, are to be done after the bishop three times gently and blandly urges those who have seperated from him to forgo such a movement, and they obstinately refuse to do so. As for those, however, who seperate from their bishop before a synodical investigation because he himself is preaching some misbelief and heresy publicly, not only are not subject to the above penances, but have a right to claim the honor due to Orthodox Christians according to c. XV of the 1st & 2nd.
"The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter's name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgement against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions."
Comments on the First-Second Synod found in the Life of St. Photios the Great by the eminent Serbian scholar and Saint, Hieromonk Justin (Popovich) of Chelije (From Saint Photios, On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, trans. by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Studion Publishers, 1983):
Maintaining his meekness, his love for order, and the canons of the Church, St. Photios called a second Council to convene in the Church of the Holy Apostles in the spring of 861* with the approval of Emperor Michael. This assembly later came to be known as the First-Second Council. Many bishops, including the representatives of Pope Nicholas, were in attendance. All confirmed the determinations of the holy Seventh Ecumenical Council, once more condemning the iconoclast heresy, and accepted Photios as the lawful and canonical patriarch. At this Council, seventeen holy canons were promulgated with the purpose of bringing disobedient monks and bishops into harmony with ecclesiastical order and tradition. The disobedient monks were expressly forbidden to desert their lawful bishop under the excuse of the bishop's supposed sinfulness, for such brings disorder and schism to the Church. The holy Council added that only by a conciliar decision could the clergy reject a bishop whom they thought to be sinful. This rule was adopted in direct response to those unreasonably strict monks who had separated themselves from their new Patriarch and his bishops. The holy Council, however, did distinguish between unreasonable rebellion and laudable resistance for the defense of the faith, which it encouraged. In regard to this matter it decreed that should a bishop publicly confess some heresy already condemned by the Holy Fathers and previous councils, one who ceases to commemorate such a bishop even before conciliar condemnation not only is not to be censured, but should be praised as condemning a false bishop. In so doing, moreover, he is not dividing the Church, but struggling for the unity of the Faith (Canon Fifteen).
* The footnote reads: "This Council together with that of 869 are considered the First-Second Council, whose canons are accepted by the Orthodox Church."
"Let not the Symbol of Faith be set aside…but let it remain unchanged: and let every heresy be given over to anathema…"
"Let no one be permitted to bring forward, or write or compose a different faith besides that defined by the holy Fathers who assembled with the Holy Spirit in the city of Nicaea. And whoever dares to compose a different faith, or present, or offer [one] to those wishing to turn to the knowledge of the truth…let such, if they be bishops or belong to the clergy, be alien-bishops from the episcopate, and clerics from the clergy—and if they be laymen, let them be given over to anathema."
"We have acknowledged it as just to keep the canons of the holy Fathers set forth at each synod till now."
Excerpt from Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ, compiled and arranged by the Late Reverend Seraphim Nassar (Englewood, NJ: Antiochian Archdiocese of N. America, 1979), p. 1031.
Now since the Church is one, and that oneness consists primarily and universally of perfect agreement in Orthodox doctrines, it necessarily follows that all those who do not conform to those Orthodox doctrines, whether by addition or omission, or by any innovation of their own, thus changing the truth, are outside this one Holy Church, as one may also ascertain from a review of the sixth and seventh canons of the Second Ecumenical Council, and the first canon of St. Basil the Great.
"…we decree that the faith handed down to us by the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, the divinely chosen Apostles, and, further, by the three hundred and eighteen holy and blessed Fathers…who assembled in Nicaea, be preserved inviolate from innovations and changes… Likewise, we also maintain the confession of faith proclaimed by the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers, who assembled in this reigning city under the great Theodosius, our emperor…Likewise, we also seal…the teaching set forth by the two hundred Godbearing Fathers, who assembled the first time in the city of Ephesus under Theodosius, our emperor, the son of Arcadius…
"Likewise, we also confirm in Orthodox manner the confession of faith inscribed by the six hundred and thirty divinelychosen Fathers in the provincial city of Chalcedon under Marcian, our emperor… And further, we also recognize as uttered by the Holy Spirit the pious utterances of the one hundred and sixtyfive Godbearing Fathers, who assembled in this reigning city under Justinian, our emperor of blessed memory, and we teach them to our posterity… And we bind ourselves anew to preserve inviolably…the confession of faith of the Sixth Synod that came together recently under our emperor, Constantine of blessed memory, in this reigning city... Speaking briefly, we enact that the faith of all of the men who have been glorified in the Church of God...be kept steadfastly, and that it abide until the end of the age unshaken, together with their divinely handed down writings and dogmas... If anyone at all does not maintain and accept the aforementioned dogmas of piety, and does not think and preach so, but attempts to go against them: let him be anathema, according to the decree previously enacted by the aforementioned holy and blessed Fathers, and let him be excluded and expelled from the Christian estate as an alien."
"For those who have received the priestly dignity, the inscribed canons and enactments serve as testimonies and directions, which we, gladly receiving, sing together with the divinely inspired David unto the Lord, saying: In the way of Thy testimonies have I found delight, as much as in all riches (Psalm 118:14). Likewise, Thou hast ordained as Thy testimonies... righteousness for ever; give me understanding and I shall live (Psalm 118:138, 144). And if the prophetic voice commands us to preserve the testimonies of God forever, and to live in them, then it is manifest that they abide indestructible and unshakeable. For Moses the Godseer also speaks thus: It is not fitting to add to them, nor is it fitting to take away from them (Deuteronomy 12:32). And the divine Apostle Peter, boasting in them, cries: which things the angels desire to look into (I Peter 1:12). Likewise the Apostle Paul also says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [literally, let him be anathema] (Galatians 1:8). Inasmuch as this is true, and attested unto us, rejoicing over this, as one that has found great spoil, we receive the divine canons with delight, and we maintain wholly and unshakably the enactment of these canons set forth by the allpraised Apostles, the holy trumpets of the Spirit, and by the six holy Ecumenical Synods, and those assembled locally to issue such commandments, and by our holy Fathers. For they all, being enlightened by one and the same Spirit, ordained what is beneficial. And whomever they give over to anathema, those we also anathematize; and whomever to expulsion, those we also expel, and whomever to excommunication, those we also excommunicate; and whomever they subject to penances, those we likewise subject."
Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio , vol. 3, p. 416). Quoted by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos in Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, p. 37.
"If anyone breaks any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema"
Note: This is subtitled, "A confession and proclamation of the Orthodox piety of the Christians, in which all the impieties of the heretics are overthrown and the definitions of the Catholic Church of Christ are sustained. Through which the enemies of the Holy Spirit are severed from the Church of Christ." This Synodicon (a decision, statement, or tome either originating from a synod possessing conciliar authority) is attributed to Patriarch Germanos the New (1222-1240).
"To those who scorn the venerable and holy ecumenical Synods, and who despise even more their dogmatic and canonical traditions; and to those who say that all things were not perfectly defined and delivered by the synods, but that they left the greater part mysterious, unclear, and untaught, ANATHEMA."
"To those who hold in contempt the sacred and divine canons of our blessed fathers, which, by sustaining the holy Church of God and adorning the whole Christian Church, guide to divine reverence, ANATHEMA."
"To all things innovated and enacted contrary to the Church tradition, teaching, and institution of the holy and ever-memorable fathers, or to anything henceforth so enacted, ANATHEMA."
The life of Saint Maximus is also instructive for us. Saint Maximus, though only a simple monk, resisted and cut off communion with every patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop and bishop in the East because of their having been infected with the heresy of Monothelitism. During the first imprisonment of the Saint, the messengers from the Ecumenical Patriarch asked him,
"To which church do you belong? To that of Byzantium, of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, or Jerusalem? For all these churches, together with the provinces in subjection to them, are in unity. Therefore, if you also belong to the Catholic Church, enter into communion with us at once, lest fashioning for yourself some new and strange pathway, you fall into that which you do not even expect!"
To this the righteous man wisely replied, "Christ the Lord called that Church the Catholic Church which maintains the true and saving confession of the Faith. It was for this confession that He called Peter blessed, and He declared that He would found His Church upon this confession. However, I wish to know the contents of your confession, on the basis of which all churches, as you say, have entered into communion. If it is not opposed to the truth, then neither will I be separated from it."
The confession which they were proposing to the Saint was not Orthodox, of course, and so he refused to comply with their coercions. Furthermore, they were lying about the See of Rome which, in fact, had remained Orthodox. Some time later, at his last interrogation by the Byzantine authorities, the following dialogue took place:
The Saint said, "They [the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria and all the other heretical bishops of the East] have been deposed and deprived of the priesthood at the local synod which took place recently in Rome. What Mysteries, then, can they perform? Or what spirit will descend upon those who are ordained by them?"
"Then you alone will be saved, and all others will perish?" they objected.
To this the Saint replied, "When all the people in Babylon were worshipping the golden idol, the Three Holy Children did not condemn anyone to perdition. They did not concern themselves with the doings of others, but took care only for themselves, lest they should fall away from true piety. In precisely the same way, when Daniel was cast into the lion's den, he did not condemn any of those who, fulfilling the law of Darius, did not wish to pray to God, but he kept in mind his own duty, and desired rather to die than to sin against his conscience by transgressing the Law of God. God forbid that I should condemn anyone or say that I alone am being saved! However, I shall sooner agree to die than to apostatize in any way from the true Faith and thereby suffer torments of conscience."
"But what will you do," inquired the envoys, "when the Romans are united to the Byzantines? Yesterday, indeed, two delegates arrived from Rome and tomorrow, the Lord's day, they will communicate the Holy Mysteries with the Patriarch. "
The Saint replied, "Even if the whole universe holds communion with the Patriarch, I will not communicate with him. For I know from the writings of the holy Apostle Paul: the Holy Spirit declares that even the angels would be anathema if they should begin to preach another Gospel, introducing some new teaching."
As history has demonstrated, Saint Maximus—who was only a simple monk and not even ordained—and his two disciples were the ones who were Orthodox, and all those illustrious, famous and influential Patriarchs and Metropolitans whom the Saint had written against were the ones who were in heresy. When the Sixth Ecumenical Synod was finally convened, among those condemned for heresy were four Patriarchs of Constantinople, one Pope of Rome, one Patriarch of Alexandria, two Patriarchs of Antioch and a multitude of other Metropolitans, Archbishops and Bishops. During all those years, that one simple monk was right, and all those notable bishops were wrong. (pp. 60-62)
Those who first defended and dissmeninated the heresy of the Monothelites were Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria (630-643), and Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople (610-638), and even the Emperor Heraclius himself, who was drawn into this heresy by them. Summoning local synods—Cyrus in Alexandria and Sergius in Constantinople—they confirmed this heresy, distributed their decrees everywhere, and corrupted the entire East. Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, alone opposed this heresy and did not accept the false teaching. Saint Maximus, seeing that the heresy had penetrated even into the royal palace and had corrupted the Emperor himself, began to fear lest he also should be corrupted, following the example of the many... He set out for Rome, preferring to live with Orthodox men who firmly preserved the Faith. (p. 2, 4, emphases mine).
[At the urging of Saint Maximus the] Pope convened his bishops, one hundred and five in number, with Abba Maximus in their midst. This was the Lateran Council (A.D. 649): it reviewed the errors of Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, and also the Emperor's heretical confession. The false teachings were anathematized, and the Pope wrote to the faithful in all places, confirming them in their Orthodoxy, explaining the errors of the heretics and warning them in every way to be on their guard against them. (p. 7)
Then Theodosius began to speak, "The Emperor and the Patriarch wish first of all to find out from you why you withdraw yourself from communion with the Throne of Constantinople."
Saint Maximus replied, "You know the innovations which were introduced twenty-one years ago in Alexandria, when Cyrus, the former Patriarch of that city, made public the ‘Nine Chapters’ which had been approved and confirmed by the Throne of Constantinople. There have also been other alterations and additions—the Ekthesis and the Typos—distorting the definitions of the Synods. These innovations were made by the foremost representatives of the Church of Byzantium, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul, and they are known to all the churches. This is the reason why I, your servant, will not enter into communion with the Church of Constantinople. Let these offenses, introduced by the aforementioned men into the Church, be removed; let those who have introduced them be deposed; and then the path to salvation will be cleared of all barriers, and you will walk on the smooth path of the Gospel, cleansed of all heresy! When I see the Church of Constantinople as she was formerly, then I will enter into communion with her without any exhortation on the part of men. But while there are heretical temptations in her, and while heretics are her bishops, no word or deed will convince me ever to enter into communion with her." (19-20, emphases mine)
To this Abba Maximus replied, "To keep silence about a word means to deny it, as the Holy Spirit says through the Prophet, 'There are no tongues nor words in which their voices are not heard' (Ps. 18:3). Therefore, if some word is not said, then it is not a word at all4."
Then Troilus said, "Have whatever faith you please in your heart; nobody forbids you."
Saint Maximus objected: "But complete salvation depends not on the faith of the heart alone, but also upon confessing it, for the Lord said, 'Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven' (Matt. 10:33). Also, the divine Apostle teaches: 'For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation' (Rom. 10:10). If, then, God and the divine Prophets and Apostles command that they mystery of faith be confessed in words and with the tongue, and this mystery of faith brings salvation to the whole world, then people must not be forced to keep silence with regard to confession, lest the salvation of people be hindered." (p. 29)
He addressed the faithful on the day of his repose. This is an excerpt:
Concerning the Patriarch I shall say this, lest it should perhaps occur to him to show me a certain respect at the burial of this my humble body, or to send to my grave any of his hierarchs or clergy or in general any of those in communion with him in order to take part in prayer or to join the priests invited to it from amongst us, thinking that at some time, or perhaps secretly, I had allowed communion with him. And lest my silence give occasion to those who do not know my views well and fully to suspect some kind of conciliation, I hereby state and testify before the many worthy men here present that I do not desire, in any manner and absolutely, and do not accept communion with him or with those who are with him, not in this life nor after my death, just as (I accept) neither the Union nor Latin dogmas, which he and his adherents have accepted, and for the enforcement of which he has occupied this presiding place, with the aim of overturning the true dogmas of the Church. I am absolutely convinced that the farther I stand from him and those like him, the nearer I am to God and all the saints, and to the degree that I separate myself from them am in union with the Truth and with the Holy Fathers, the Theologians of the Church; and I am likewise convinced that those who count themselves with them stand far away from the Truth and from the blessed Teachers of the Church. And for this reason I say: just as in the course of my whole life I was separated from them, so at the time of my departure, yea and after my death, I turn away from intercourse and communion with them and vow and command that none (of them) shall approach either my burial or my grave, and likewise anyone else from our side, with the aim of attempting to join and concelebrate in our Divine services; for this would be to mix what cannot be mixed. But it befits them to be absolutely separated from us until such time as God shall grant correction and peace to His Church. [as quoted in The Orthodox Word, June-July, 1967, pp. 103ff.]
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