Theology

The Synodikon of the Holy, Great, Ecumenical Council, the Second of Nicaea: 787

From the Proceedings of the Seventh Ecumenical Council

The holy, great, and Ecumenical Council, which, by the grace of God and the will of the pious and Christ-loving Emperors, Constantine and Irene, his mother, was gathered together for the second time at Nice, the illustrious metropolis of Bithynia, in the holy church of God which is named Sophia, having followed the tradition of the Catholic Church, hath defined as follows: Christ our Lord, who hath bestowed upon us the light of the knowledge of himself, and hath redeemed us from the darkness of idolatrous madness, having espoused to himself the Holy Catholic Church without spot or defect, promised that he would so preserve her: and gave his word to this effect to his holy disciples when he said Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world which promise he made, not only to them, but to us also who should believe in his name through their word.

A Preparation for Confession

I, a sinful soul, confess to our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, all of my evil acts which I have done, said or thought from baptism even unto this present day.

I have not kept the vows of my baptism, but have made myself unwanted before the face of God.

Discipline of Fasting

Within this developed pattern of Great Lent, what precisely do the rules of fasting demand? Neither in ancient nor in modern times has there ever been exact uniformity, but most Orthodox authorities agree on the following rules:

(1) During the week between the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and that of the Prodigal Son, there is general dispensation from all fasting. Meat and animal products may be eaten even on Wednesday and Friday.

The Rule of Fasting in the Orthodox Church

By Father Seraphim (Rose) of Platina

In answer to numerous requests from readers, the rule of fasting is given for each day of the year. Where no indication of fast is given, and during "fast-free weeks," all foods may be eaten (except during Cheese-fare Week, when meat alone is forbidden every day). Where "fast day" is indicated alone, the fast is a strict one, with no meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, wine or oil to be eaten. Where, underneath "fast day," is indicated "wine and oil allowed," the fast is relaxed for the sake of a feast day or vigil, to allow eating of these foods. Where "fish, wine and oil allowed" is indicated, then all three of these foods may be eaten.

Monday of the First Week of Great Lent

True fasting is putting away evil deeds. (St. Basil the Great)

The meaning of fasting consists not simply in refusing meat and dairy products, but most importantly in profound self-knowledge, repentance, and the struggle with the passions. “Let us tear every unrighteous union,” the Church hymns call to us on these days. “If we refrain from meat but devour our neighbors, this is a mockery of the fast,” says patristic wisdom. The true meaning of the fast is clearly revealed in one of the stichera: “Let us abandon bodily passions, and grow the gifts of the soul…” “The Springtime of repentance” is what people in the Church call the time of Great Lent.

Archbishop Nicholas (Kasatkin) of Japan

First one must conquer love, and only then spread the word – Archbishop Nicholas (Kasatkin).

The first person to preach the Gospel in Japan was a Spaniard, Francis Xavier, a Catholic monk of the Jesuit order. The first missionary labors of the Catholic monk and his fellow Jesuit strugglers were crowned with success, and many people accepted Christianity, including the Japanese princes Onugo, Arima and Omura (in the year 1582). However, as the Jesuits focused more on the external, ritualistic aspects of the Faith, on violence and threats, and didnt focus on the spirit of love and humility in their apostolic preaching, they were not able to strengthen the Japanese Christians in the Catholic faith, so that many of them, deep down, remained pagans. Unfortunately, the Jesuit missionary movement was accompanied by politics and intrigue, that is, by a clear and ardent desire to make Japan submit to the Vatican. This caused a negative influence in the hearts of the Japanese, and also led to the harsh persecution of those newly-converted men and women, who had sincerely accepted Catholicism, a fact which is witnessed by a Christian historian in Japan: