Contemporary Heresies Anathematized in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy


To them who in words accept the Economy of the Incarnation of the Word of God, but will not tolerate its representation by icons, and thus in word they make a pretense of accepting, but in fact deny our salvation.

To them who because of a mistaken adherence to the term uncircumscribed, wish not to depict in icons Christ, our True God, Who like us partook of flesh and blood, and thus show themselves to be Docetists.

To them who accept the visions of the prophets, albeit unwillingly, but who do not – O wonder! – accept the images seen by the prophets even before the Incarnation of the Word, but vainly say that the intangible and unseeable essence was seen by the prophets, or even concede that these truly were revealed to the prophets as images and types and forms, but still cannot endure to depict in icons the Word become man and His sufferings for our sake.

To them who hear the Lord Who said that “If ye believed in Moses, ye would have believed in me” and who understand the saying of Moses, “The Lord our God will raise up for you a prophet like unto me,” but who, on the one hand, say that they accept the Prophet, yet on the other hand, do not permit the depiction in icons of the grace of the Prophet and our universal salvation such as He was seen, as He mingled with mankind, and worked many healings of passions and diseases, and such as He was crucified, was buried, and arose, in short, all that He both suffered and wrought for us; to those, therefore, who cannot endure to gaze upon these universal and saving deeds in icons, neither honor nor worship them.

To them who persist in the heresy of denying icons, or rather the apostasy of denying Christ, and are not counseled by the Mosaic law to be led to their salvation, nor are they convinced to return to piety by the apostolic teachings, nor are they induced by patristic exhortations and explanations to abandon their deception, nor are they persuaded by the agreement of the Churches of God throughout the whole world, but once for all have joined themselves to the portion of the Jews and Greeks; for those things wherewith the latter directly blaspheme the prototype, the former likewise have not blushed to insult in His icon Him that is depicted therein; therefore, to them who are incorrigibly possessed by this deception, and have their ears covered towards every Divine word and spiritual teaching, as already being putrified members, and having cut themselves off from the common body of the Church.

To them who consider the declarations of Divine Scripture against the idols as referring to the venerable icons of Christ our God and His saints.

To them who knowingly have communion with those who insult and dishonor the venerable icons.

To them who say that the Christians draw near to icons as if they were gods.

To them who dare to say that the Catholic Church at one time had accepted idols, and thus they overthrow the entire mystery, and blaspheme the Faith of the Christians.

To them who maintain that although the wise men of the Greeks and the foremost of the heresiarchs were put under anathema by the Seven Holy and Catholic Councils and by all the fathers that shone forth in Orthodoxy as ones alien to the Catholic Church because of the adulterations and loathsome superabundance of error in their teachings, yet they are exceedingly more excellent, both here and in the future judgment, than those pious and orthodox men who, by human passion or by ignorance, have committed some offense.

Whoever would defend an adherent of any heresy which disparages the Christians, or would defend someone who died in that heresy, let him be Anathema, Anathema, Anathema.

To them who do not accept with a pure and simple faith and with all their soul and heart the extraordinary miracles of our Saviour and God and of the holy Theotokos who without stain gave birth to Him, and of the other saints, but who attempt by sophistic demonstration and words to traduce them as being impossible, or to misinterpret them according to their own way of thinking, and to present them according to their own opinion.

To them who do not correctly understand the divine voices of the holy teachers of the Church of God and who attempt to misinterpret and pervert those things clearly and manifestly spoken in them by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

To them who do not confess that the Word and Son of God was begotten from the Father without change before the ages, and that in these latter times out of His abundant loving kindness, He became incarnate as a man from the immaculate Theotokos Mary, taking upon Himself for our salvation all that pertains to us save sin, and to them who consequently do not partake of His holy and immortal Mysteries with fear, inasmuch as they consider them as mere bread and common wine rather than the very flesh of the Master and His holy and precious Blood shed for the life of the world; to such men, Anathema.

To them who say that the sacrifice of His precious Body and Blood offered for our salvation by our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ at the time of His world-saving Passion was offered up by Him to God the Father, and that He thus fulfilled the ministry of High Priest for us in His humanity (inasmuch as He is at the same time God and Sacrificer and Victim, according to St. Gregory the Theologian), but who then say that He, the Only Begotten, along with the Holy Spirit, did not Himself accept the sacrifice as God together with the Father; hence by such teachings they estrange from the divine equality of honor and dignity both God the Word and the Spirit, the Comforter, Who is of one essence and of one glory with Him.

To them who do not accept that the sacrifice which is offered daily by those who have received from Christ the priestly service of the Divine Mysteries, is in fact offered to the Holy Trinity, and thereby contradict the sacred and divine fathers, Basil and Chrysostom, and other God-bearing fathers who all agree in both their words and writings.

To them who hear the Saviour saying concerning the priestly service of the Divine Mysteries delivered by Him: “Do this in remembrance of Me,” but they do not understand “remembrance” correctly, but dare to say that the daily sacrifice offered by those who perform the sacred service of the Divine Mysteries, just as our Saviour, the Master of all, delivered to us, reenacts only symbolically and figuratively the Sacrifice of His own Body and Blood which our Saviour had offered on the Cross as a ransom and redemption of our common human nature; and for this reason, since they introduce the doctrine that this is a different sacrifice from the one originally consummated by the Saviour and refers to it merely symbolically and figuratively, they bring to naught the Mystery of the awesome and divine priestly service whereby we receive the earnest of the future life; therefore, to them who deny what is staunchly proclaimed by our divine Father John Chrysostom who says in many commentaries on the sayings of the Great Paul that the sacrifice is identical, that both are one and the same.

To them who invent and introduce intervals of time into the reconciliation of human nature with the Divine and blessed nature of the lifegiving and wholly inviolate Trinity, and legislate that we were first reconciled to the Only-begotten Word by His assumption of humanity and then afterwards to God the Father during the salutary Passion of the Saviour Christ; and thus they divide what is indivisible according to the divine and blessed fathers who taught that the Only-begotten reconciled us to Himself through the entire Mystery of the Economy, of the Incarnation and through Himself and in Himself to God the Father and, it follows necessarily, to the all-holy and life-creating Spirit; therefore to them who invent these new and strange doctrines we say, Anathema.

Again, to those same men who think and say that the name ‘Godhead’ or ‘Divinity’ can be applied only to the essence of God, but who do not confess in accord with the divinely-inspired theologies of the saints and the pious mind of the Church, that this appellation equally pertains to the Divine energy, and that thus one Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is by all means still professed, whether one apply the name ‘Godhead’ to Their essence, or to Their energy, as the divine expounders of the mysteries have instructed us, Anathema! (The Synodikon of Orthodoxy)