Academy celebrated the Triumph of Orthodoxy
On March 8th the Church celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy and recalls the uncovering of Prophet John the Baptist’s head.
The events dedicated to the celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy let us recall year 843 when at the VII Ecumenical Council holy fathers condemned the doctrine of iconoclasts. As a sign of their victory they brought holy images to the main church of Constantinople.
Iconoclasts proclaimed the impossibility to worship icons because God cannot be portrayed as no one had ever seen Him. So they called idolaters everyone who venerated holy images.
Holy Fathers taught differently. They said that the honor given to an image does not apply to wood and paints, but to the One depicted on it. The Savior can be depicted as He was embodied and came to our world.
Knowing that the Son indescribably shone from the Father was born from the Virgin with two natures, we do not deny the outline of His appearance, but piously portray and worship it faithfully. Therefore, the Church adhering to the true faith venerates the icon of the incarnation of Christ».
The feast of uncovering St. John the Baptist’s head is closely intertwined with the Triumph of Orthodoxy. The great righteous man was beheaded for his strong condemnation of the incestuous marriage of the king of Judah. Herodias, who was responsible for his murder, took St. John’s head while his disciples buried the body of the saint. However, the image of God could never be demeaned by His persecutors. During the reign of Emperor Constantine, the honest head of St. John the Baptist was found and honorably taken to the capital of the empire.
Our Lord always saves from perils leaves the ones who believe in Him and His holy face vividly proves it during all Christian life. Therefore, today the Church joyfully cries out:
We bow to the Most Holy Image of You, Christ the God, asking for forgiveness of our sins. As You voluntarily favored to ascend to the Cross in order to deliver thee created by You from slavery to the enemy. Therefore, we gratefully call upon you: “You filled everything with joy, our Savior, the One who came to save the world!»
On March 7, the bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim performed an evening service in an academic church of the Intercession of Theotokos. A sermon was given by a fourth-year student Michael Afanasyev. He spoke about the importance of patience in the days of the Great Lent:
Walking along an endless road, you can easily get confused and disappointed. After all, it seems that we are lonely and abandoned on that path. We do not have patience and forget that in God's plan our time is determined. One who tries to outwit the Almighty and shorten the way quickly gets lost and falls. It is disappointing and rather upsetting so we start grumbling. The only reason is that people want everything at once. We do not want to wait for weeks, months or years. But where is our hard work? How are we going to overcome obstacles that come our way? Where is our endurance that tempers character as the only the sight of upcoming difficulties deprives us from power and hope? But even if we have stopped, the time is still going on».
On March 8, Archimandrite Venedikt (Knyazev) led the Divine Liturgy in the academic home church.
A sermon was delivered by a student of the preparatory course Mikhail Zakroets. He spoke about the veneration of holy icons in the Orthodox Church:
The holy icons depict saint people who intercede for us before God. While looking at the picture, we do not admire its canvas but the painting itself. While reading, we do not consider paper, but the written text. While looking at the photo, we are interested in the faces depicted on it but not the film. The same can be said about icons. While venerating holy icons, we show our respect to the saints depicted on them, rising in our thoughts to the Heaven and to those saints who are in the abode of the King of Heaven».
After the Liturgy, archimandrite Venedikt (Knyazev) together with the clergy of the academic church performed the office of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
The MThA Press Office