by Orthodox Wisdom 35 views
Every year during the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the questions arise: "Why are we anathematizing people? Is the Church really sending them to hell? What is an anathema?" In his homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, St. Theophan the Recluse provides as answer to such questions, raising our theologoical consciences higher and guarding the faithful against seculization of the Church increasingly present today.
-READ the text here:,to%20think%20upon%20joining%20her.
-WATCH the Rite of the Triumph Orthodoxy (Anathema Service, or Synodikon) in English and Church Slavonic:
-WATCH a short, powerful video of the Proclomation of Anathemas:
-READ St. John Maximovitch addressing the same topic:
-FIND an Orthodox parish and monastery near you:
Audio of singing "Anathema!" at the beginning of this recording:
St. Theophan teaches:
To some people our anathemas seem inhumane, to others constricting. Such charges might be valid in other situations, but there is no way they can apply to our Rite of Orthodoxy.
Let us take, for example, a temperance society. It has rules which every member must fulfill. And each of its members is a member precisely because he accepts and abides by its rules. Now suppose that some member not only refuses to abide by the rules but also holds many views completely opposed to those of the society and even rises up against its very goal. He not only does not himself observe temperance but even reviles temperance itself and disseminates notions which might tempt others and deflect them from temperance. What does the society ordinarily do with such people? First it admonishes them, and then it expels them. There you have an anathema! No one protests this, no one reproaches the society for being inhuman. Everyone acknowledges that the society is acting in a perfectly legitimate manner and that if it were to act otherwise, it could not exist.
Do you not see with what wisdom and foresight the holy Church acts when she makes us perform the present proclamation and listen to it? And yet they say, "This is outdated." It is precisely now that it is relevant. Perhaps 100 years ago it was not relevant. But one must say concerning our time, that if a Rite of Orthodoxy did not as yet exist, it would be needful to introduce one, and to perform it not only in the capital cities but in all places and in all churches: in order to collect all the evil teachings opposed to the Word of God, and to make them known to all, in order that all might know what they need to beware of and what kind of teachings to avoid. Many are corrupted in mind solely due to ignorance, whereas a public condemnation of ruinous teachings would save them from perdition.
Whether your teaching and your name are pronounced as being under anathema or not, you already fall under it when your opinions are opposed to those of the Church, and when you persist in them. Fearful is the anathema. Leave off your evil opinions. Amen.
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