Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers 2018
held this year at:
Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
V. Rev. Steven C. Kostoff, rector
4285 Ashland Ave, Norwood OH 45212
513-351-0907 • Map & Directions
Sunday, February 25:
• 6:00pm - Vespers of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
• followed by Multi-Ethnic Lenten Refreshments & fellowship
Join us for this unique tradition of Pan-Orthodox Vespers with concelebrants and parishioners from regional Orthodox churches, followed immediately by a multi-ethnic Lenten meal in our newly renovated church hall. We are honored to host this traditional pan-Orthodox event this year.
Guests & Visitors, you can find map & directions to our church here.
Scroll down to learn more about the Iconoclast Heresy, the Restoration of the Holy Icons, and the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
We look forward to seeing you!
FIRST SUNDAY of LENT
On the same day, the First Sunday of the Fast, we commemorate the restoration of the Holy and Precious Icons, which was brought about by the ever-memorable Emperors of Constantinople, Michael and his mother Theodora, during the Patriarchate of the Holy Confessor Methodios.
I rejoice, on seeing the Icons that were unworthily
Banished being accorded fitting veneration.
O Christ our God, begging forgiveness of our sins, we venerate your pure image O Good One. Of Your own will You condescended to ascend upon the Cross in the flesh and delivered those you created from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, thankfully we cry out: When You came to save the world You filled all things with joy, O our Savior.
Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The undepictable Word of the Father became depictable when He took flesh of you, O Theotokos; and when He had restored the defiled image to its ancient state, He suffused it with divine beauty. As for us, confessing our salvation, we record it in deed and word.
Sermon on the Triumph of Orthodoxy
by St Luke, Archbishop of Crimea
The Holy Apostle Peter writes the following in his Second General Epistle: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed”(II Pet. 2:1-2).
St. Paul, returning to Palestine from Greece, made a stop in Ephesus. To the the Christian inhabitants of the town there he said: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29-30).
Many such false teachers and schismatics existed in the first centuries of Christianity. Some heresies troubled the Church for centuries, such as the heresies of Arius, of Macedonius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, of Nestorius and also the heresy of Iconoclasm. These heresies caused much disturbance in the Church and afflicted the Church greatly. There were many confessors and martyrs who shed their blood defending the true faith in the fight against false teachers and heretics.
There were also many great prelates, who also suffered under persecution and were often exiled. Saint Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, for example, in a council chaired by Dioscorus, called the Robber Synod and was “beaten so savagely that he died three days later.”
The last in the line-up of heresies, the heresy of Iconoclasm, was the one that tormented our Orthodox Church the most. This heresy first appeared during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurian, who came to the throne in 717. He ascended the throne with the help of the army, which had many opponents of those who venerate holy icons, within its ranks. Because he wanted to please the army he started a harsh persecution against Iconophiles.
This persecution continued on into the reign of Emperor Constantine Copronymus, who succeeded Leo to the throne... Following these, there were other Iconoclast emperors, who continued the work of their predecessors and tormented the Church for years...
The persecution only stopped when Empress Irene came to the throne of the Byzantine Empire, but this was not yet final. In 787 Irene convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which set down Orthodox teaching on the veneration of holy icons. But even after this Council Iconoclast emperors still existed, for example, Michael and others. The heresy was crushed only under the God-fearing Augusta, Theodora, when a local council was convened in Constantinople in 842, which upheld the Orthodox teaching. The council pronounced an anathema on all those who dare to say that the veneration of holy icons is idolatry and that Orthodox Christians are idolaters...
Over a thousand years have passed since the time of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and no such Ecumenical Councils have been convened since. Why? The reasons are political. It was impossible to call them. But we should not be sorry that others did not take place and that there are no Ecumenical Councils today. These Seven that we have sorted out all questions and solved all the problems that the Church had with heresies and established the Orthodox faith.
You will say that there are many new heresies and schisms today. Yes, you are right. But we should know that the new heresies are not saying anything new but repeating what the old heretics have already said. All of these heresies were anathematized by the Seventh Ecumenical Council. So the decisions of seven Ecumenical Councils are enough for us, especially the Seventh Ecumenical Council. This is why we rejoice today and celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy, which was expressed and fixed by the Seventh Ecumenical Council.
It was precisely for this reason that it was appointed that a doxology should be chanted on this day, as a thanksgiving to God for securing the Orthodox faith. Let us chant this doxology now.