Icon of the Sunday of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Orthodoxy

Today is the first Sunday of Lent and a very special day in the Orthodox Calendar of worship. It is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy or the Triumph of Orthodoxy. On this day we commemorate the struggles of our forefathers in upholding & protecting the Orthodox Faith from those who sought to alter or destroy it with false teachings, and we honour them for preserving it pure to be handed down to us.

This feast came about because in the 700s a movement arose in the Church (called iconoclasm) where people (called iconoclasts) started to think that icons were idols.Out of their mistaken zeal, they tried to destroy all of the icons in the churches. After struggle that lasted half-a-century, the Empress St Theodora convened a council (now known as the 7th Ecumenical Council) at which the bishops proclaimed the official teaching of the Orthodox Faith – that icons are not idols because we do not worship them, rather we simply venerate them (ie, show them honour). When we honour an icon, we are showing honour to the saint shown in the icon (and in turn to the One Who made them a Saint – ie God). This council decreed that the icons were to be restored to the Churches, and they have remained there to this day. To honour this event, the Empress established the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy which included a procession of icons around the church.

Although icons were the main issue at that time, the service also reinforced the truth of the Orthodox Faith by denouncing many of the errors and heresies against which the Orthodox Church had fought through the ages. For example, the first denouncement is: “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!” Many of these denouncements very relevant today. You can read more about this service here.

This year’s Sunday of Orthodoxy was extra special for the Orthodox Church here in Adelaide because one of our home-grown young men was ordained to the diaconate by His Grace Bishop Nikandros at the Parish of Prophet Elias, Norwood. We congratulate Fr Deacon Michael Psaromatis on his ordination and we pray that God will give him strength for the divine vocation to which he has been called. AXIOS!

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