Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
“Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition.”
(Titus 3: 10)
In the field of the Orthodox Church the Ecumenical Council (Synod) is the instrument expressing the highest means of authority. The Synods were convened by the Emperors of Constantinople or the Ecumenical Patriarch. These Synods dealt with the problems which occurred and were related to the faith and at the same time they also dealt with practical matters concerning the life of the faithful. Up until now Seven Ecumenical Councils have taken place which helped the Church to overcome the difficulties appearing in the life of its flock. In accordance with the promise of the Lord, Who is the Head of the Church, the Holy Spirit leads the Church towards the whole truth.
The First Ecumenical Council took place in the year 325 A.D. at Nikaea in Bethany in order to deal with the heresy of Arius, who, through his wrong teachings rejected the divinity of the Person of Jesus Christ. 318 God- bearing Fathers participated. They composed the first seven articles of the Symbol of Faith, known as ‘Pistevo’ or ‘I Believe’.
In the year 381 A.D. the Second Ecumenical Council took place in Constantinople to deal with the followers of Macedonios. Those were the extension of the heresy of the Arians. The Macedonians rejected the divinity of the Person of the Holy Spirit. This Synod was convened by the Emperor Theodosios the Great. The Synod, carrying out its task, completed the Symbol of Faith by adding five more articles. St Gregory the Theologian, Patriarch of Constantinople, presided at the beginning. After his resignation Nectarios succeeded him. Only 150 God-bearing Fathers, who all came from the East participated. Let us point out that the Second Ecumenical Council, by her Third Canon, granted to the Ecumenical Throne equality of honour with the Throne of Rome.
In the year 431A.D. the Third Ecumenical Council took place in Ephesus and was convened by the Emperor Theodosios the Less. The task of this Synod was to face the Patriarch Nestorios of Constantinople, who refused to call our Lady Theotokos and named her Christotokos, meaning that she gave birth to a simple man. In this Synod 200 God-bearing Fathers participated. St Cyril of Alexandria played an important role in this Council. The Autocephaly of the Church of Cyprus was granted by this Synod.
In the year 451 A.D. the Fourth Ecumenical Council took place at Chalcedon, the birth-place of St Efthymia. This place is quite close to Constantinople. Marcian and Poulcheria the Emperors convened this Synod in order to face Monophysitism. The promoters of this teaching were the Archimandrite of Constantinople, Eftychios and the Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioskoros. They both taught that the divine nature of the Person of Christ absorbed the human nature.
The Council taught that Christ Himself is Perfect God and Perfect Man. In His Person the two natures, divine and human, co-exist. The human nature gives in to the divine and the divine nature allows the human to implement its own rights. This Synod, through her 28th Canon, granted priority of honour to the Throne of Constantinople immediately after the throne of Rome. 630 God-bearing Fathers participated.
In the year 553 A.D. the Fifth Ecumenical Council took place in Constantinople in order to face the wrong teachings of Origen. 165 God-bearing fathers were present.
In the year 681 A.D. Constantine the Bearded convened the Sixth Ecumenical Council which took place in Constantinople, against Monothelitism. 170 God-bearing Fathers were present. The Monothelites taught that in the Person of Jesus Christ there was only one will and one energy. Monothelites are the Maronites. In the year 691 A.D. the Fifth-Sixth Council at Troulli took place and dealt further with Monothelitism. Let us remind you that in the Person of Christ the divine and the human will co-exist.
In the year 787 A.D. the Seventh Ecumenical Council took place at Nikaea of Bethany with the participation of 387 God-bearing Fathers. The Synod was convened by the Empress Irene the Athenian, who was the guardian to her minor son, Constantine the Sixth. This Synod had to face the Iconoclasm. In her decision, the Synod adopted the teaching of St John the Damascene. The Synod taught that we do not worship the icons but we respect and honour the images depicted on them. The honour belongs and refers to God alone.
In the recent decades the Orthodox church has been occupied by the preparations so as to convene a Panorthodox Council, in order to face the many contemporary and current matters in the life of its flock. The Holy Spirit, Who holds together the whole system of the Church, we are certain, is going to appropriately lead the steps and the thoughts of the Church leaders at the fitting time so as to reach correct decisions. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: We would like to inform all our generous donors and helpers towards the meals given in honour of our that these have now stopped for the summer. They will resume again in September 2010. We will notify you of the exact date nearer the time. We take this opportunity to thank you for your continuous contribution, encouragement and help towards this very worthy cause.
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscriptions for the Community (£50.00), Pantanassa (£25.00) and the Archdiocese Magazine (£15.00) are now
due. If you have not already paid your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: We are pleased to inform you that this year we have been able to sell all the school raffles. Many thanks to all of you who helped to sell or buy raffles and enabled us to raise over £11,000. The lucky Nos. are as follows: 0804, 07020, 10626, 07247, 05924, 09553, 08599.
SCHOOL MAGAZINE – SUMMER EDITION: We have great pleasure to announce to all the friends of St Barnabas Greek School that the summer edition of our school magazine “I Phoni tou Scholiou”, No. 108, is now in circulation. The cover of this edition has a photograph of pupils in front of our Cathedral during playtime. The magazine contains an account of the school year 2009-2010 by the headmaster of the school, His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou; announcements and articles for the feast of Saints Barnabas and Bartholomew, a speech for the Day of Cyprus by the Cyprus High Commissioner, Mr Alexandros Zenon, articles by the teachers and pupils, the chronicle for the last three months, avdertisements and photographs of various events of the community and school. We congratulate and thank all our subscribers and our young contributors to the magazine.
SCHOOL ENROLMENTS: We are pleased to inform all the parents and guardians of children of school age that they may enrol their children from now for the coming school year 2010-2011. The offices are open daily for this pupose from 9.00 – 6.00 p.m. (except Sundays). School sessions begin on Thursday, 9th September 2010.
PANTANASSA FUNCTION: The Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA are organisating a barbecue evening on Tuesday, 20th July 2010. The function will take place in St Mary’s Church hall and will begin at 7.30 p.m. Price for each ticket is £20.00. We look forward to seeing you there on the evening as we are certain you will enjoy yourselves.
PARACLESES IN CHURCH: We would like to inform all of you that from the 1st until the 13th August 2010, the Great and Small Paracleses will be chanted alternately in St Mary’s Cathedral. These will begin at 6.00 p.m. starting with the Great Paraclesis. The exception being on the evening of the 5th August, when Vespers will be sung for the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord.