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Question 212

Father what is the proclamation of Anathema's? And when is it celebrated?


Answer to Question 212


From 726 until 842 the church suffered the persecutions from the Iconclasts who were against having icons in church or even in the home. They taught that it was a form of idolatry. The church suffered greatly at the hands of the iconoclast but eventually was successful in defeating them. In 842 the Emperor Theophilos died and power fell to his wife Theodora who was secretly an Iconodule (a defender of icons) After a year of preparations, Theodora convoked a Council. The council proclaimed the canons of all the Seven Ecumenical Councils and proved the legitimacy of venerating Icons. The Iconoclasts and all heretics were finally condemned. 


With the final victory of the Orthodox there remained only one more thing to do and that was to celebrate this great event. It is this victory that we celebrate every year on the first Sunday of Lent and called the Sunday of Orthodoxy. The feast then is a celebration of the victory of the true faith over all the heresies and errors that the Church has had to do battle with. At the end of the Liturgy the priest will stand by the royal Doors and say in a loud voice: A yearly thanksgiving is due to God on account of that day when we recovered the Church of God, with the manifestation of the pious dogmas and the overthrowing of the blasphemies of wickedness. After this a procession with the holy Icons is made around the Church and at intervals the priests says petitions on behalf of all those that defended the Orthodox faith. When he reaches the main entrance again, he reads extracts from the synodical decree of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. The service is said in an abbreviated form leaving out the 60 anathemas against the various heretics from the third to the fourteenth century.