The Anathemas! Sunday of Orthodoxy

I have just read through the Anathemas that are proclaimed during the Sunday of Orthodoxy and there are some that caught my attention. I have put them here with an explanation why I thought them interesting.

To those who deny the existence of God, and assert that the world is self-existing, and that all things in it occur by chance, and not by the providence of God, Anathema!



In other words being Orthodox means rejecting a purely materialistic evolutionary model or big-bang theory. The providence of God must be seen throughout the process of creation. It seems we need to take great care when dealing with this topic lest we come under the anathema to which we adhere during the Sunday of Orthodoxy.



To those who foolishly say that the coming of the Son of God into the world in the flesh, and His voluntary passion, death, and resurrection were not necessary for our salvation and the cleansing of sins, Anathema!



This is interesting in that some suggest that God could save us in a manner other than through His incarnation and crucifixion. This Anathema seems to suggest otherwise and that it was necessary for God to take these steps to save us, which is different to say that it was necessary for God to save us, i.e. He freely came to save us but to do so He needed to become incarnate, die and rise again. This process means that He had to be connected to the created world to save us and could not save us only by His divine energies. He needed to save us both in a created and uncreated manner. If this is so then we should not be surprised that we need to be saved by both water and spirit, by created and by uncreated means thus providing an explanation for the necessity of baptism within the Church.

To those who dare to say that the all-pure Virgin Mary was not virgin before giving birth, during birthgiving, and after her child-birth, Anathema!



It seems that we have no choice regarding the Mother of God as being ever-virgin.



To those who reject the Councils of the holy fathers and their traditions, which are agreeable to divine revelation and kept piously by the Orthodox Church, Anathema!



Anyone thinking of modernising the traditions of the Church may need to take care with this anathema. Also, this seems to reinforce the position in the post on “Changing the unchanging” that both doctrine and practice are to be kept without change.

To the followers of the occult, spiritualists, wizards, and all who do not believe in the one God, but honour the demons; or who do not humbly give their lives over to God, but strive to learn the future through sorcery, Anathema!

This could also extend in principle to reading horoscopes and such things. It seems that seeking to learn about the future and not solely trusting in God is a serious matter and up with denying our faith or blasphemy.

9 Responses to The Anathemas! Sunday of Orthodoxy

  1. Fr. Maximus says:

    It’s normal to read the anathemas only in cathedrals with a bishop present, so that’s probably why you don’t see it in many parishes.

  2. monkpatrick says:

    Andrea,

    From what I understand, the anathemas of the Sunday of Orthodoxy are those of the ninth Century after the final restoration of icons.

    Here is another quote from the anathemas read just before the specific anathemas are read that is worth considering and that captures what it is to act in an Orthodox manner:

    As we therefore bless and praise those who have obeyed the divine revelation and have fought for it; so we reject and anathematize those who oppose this truth, if while waiting for their return and repentance, they refuse to turn again to the Lord; and in this we follow the sacred tradition of the ancient Church, holding fast to her traditions.

  3. “These anathemas are beneficial for Orthodox to remind them of the necessity to maintain their faith and not to be led astray by false opinions; they are not intended to be exclaimed to non-Orthodox.”

    Since the Anathemas (if I have the right Anathemas) were proclaimed at the Fourth Council, I believe it was before the first major split with what became the Coptic or Oriental Church. The Orthodox have a softer view of them, and it seems different opinions about different groups that subsequently split. Even though they proclaim what we believe is necessary to faith, we are surrounded by those who don’t. We can’t help but think of them when we hear, “let them be Anathema”. It is painful, and I wonder if God thinks of those outside the Orthodox Church who love him in a more forgiving manner of “they know not what they do”.

    Also, to read them in Church can seem inflammatory to the Christian Churches next door, even if they are not the audience, so I suspect that keeping good relations with them is another reason.

    This fear of bad relations and avoidance of pain or being wrong in condemning others could be misguided if it keeps others from realizing the seriousness of believing rightly, however. Even if they are only proclaimed to the faithful in Church, and if there are no unorthodox visitors (unlikely in my parish), to proclaim them or not to proclaim them affects how we speak and act towards non-Orthodox outside the Church.

  4. Lucian says:

    I wonder what the motivation is not to read them.

    Time.

    Are they just a convenient portion to cut out to save time?

    Yes.

  5. monkpatrick says:

    The Priest in charge of the service that I attended didn’t read them either but I have heard them read on Mt Athos, so I have known them to be a genuine part of the service.

    I wonder what the motivation is not to read them. Are the presbyters shy to express what it is to be Orthodox? Are they embarrassed to be Orthodox, not because of its liturgical beauty and fine spiritual tradition but because of its firm adherence to truth and the reality of the consequences of falsehood? Are they just a convenient portion to cut out to save time? These anathemas are beneficial for Orthodox to remind them of the necessity to maintain their faith and not to be led astray by false opinions; they are not intended to be exclaimed to non-Orthodox.

  6. Ingemar says:

    I’ve been to two pan-Orthodox Sunday of Orthodoxy vespers so far and have yet to hear any anathemas. Maybe San Diego Orthodoxy doesn’t have the stones to mention them?

  7. Lucian says:

    Here’s my tribute to the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Hope you like it.

  8. […] great post from Energetic Procession on the Anathemas of the Sunday of Orthodoxy […]

  9. Dionysius says:

    “…being Orthodox means rejecting a purely materialistic evolutionary model or big-bang theory…”

    With wisdom, the Fathers reject the part of the evolutionary theory that is actually wrong — asserting that nature is self-existing.

    My students seem to think that believing in random mutation is tantamount to atheism.

    Thanks for the post.

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