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CANON FOR THE SYNODIKON OF ORTHODOXY
INTRODUCTION
In the Triodia this Canon is ascribed to Theodore the Studite, but it cannot be by him, since he had died several years earlier. The author is almost certainly the Patriarch St Methodios. The troparion of the 8th Ode which speaks of the famous Icon of Christ above the Bronze Gate of the Palace reminds one of the poem on the subject that was written by the Patriarch Methodios to celebrate its restoration. The rubric in the Triodion says, ’after the Dismissal of Matins and before the Liturgy, we go in procession, together with wood of the Cross and the revered Icons, to the place where the Synodikon is to be read. As we go and as we return we sing the following Canon’. If this canon was first sung in 843, it is tempting to suggest that it may have been sung as the clergy and people made their way from the church of the Mother of God in Blachernae, where the vigil had been celebrated, to the Great Church, where the Liturgy was to be celebrated. It is perhaps worth remarking that one of those present would almost certainly have been a seventeen year old boy from Thessalonika, who had recently been sent to Constantinople on the death of his father and placed in the care of Theoktistos the Logothete, the Empress Theodora’s chief minister. The young man’s name was Constantine; though he is better known by his monastic name, Cyril — the Apostle of the Slavs. The Canon presents a number of linguistic and historical problems, and this translation is only provisional. One of the historical problems is why such prominence is given to otherwise almost wholly unknown character, Lezix, who appears here as one of the leaders of the iconoclasts. It seems that he was subsequently reconciled to the Church by the Patriarch himself. The two troparia that are sung after the Canon are not without interest. The first, which is now the Apolytikion for the day, seems to have been a rallying song of the Iconodules, for we read in the life of St Theodore the Studite that shortly after the exile of Patriarch Nikephoros and the removal of the icons, St Theodore organised a solemn procession of the icons, during which this troparion was sung. In his Life we read that ‘he ordered all the

for he has raised up a saving horn for us. son of Joseph. CANON FOR THE SYNODIKON OF ORTHODOXY By Methodios Ode 1. from Nazareth’. Helper and Protector. ’Moses and Aaron were among his priests: and Samuel among those that call upon his name’. The three are found together in Psalm 96:6. glory and honour have appeared. loving Lord”. This took place on the glorious feast of Palms. previously rent by John the deceiver and poisoner. rejoices and leaps with gladness with her children. as she has received from him prizes of victory.2 monks under him to take the icons in their hands. . in particular Moses. hold them high and then march round the whole circuit of the monastery. a champion of Orthodoxy. the Benefactor of all things. sing the hymn. having received the robe of its own baring. Aaron and Samuel. Tone 6. a mighty kingdom. Jesus. Let us believers sing a song of thanksgiving to our God. symbols of Orthodoxy. “We worship your most pure icon. the Church leaps for joy. The present Gospel for this Sunday is also a survival from the ancient office. the godly Fathers have now woven and given to the Church. ’We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law. [Twice] Truly divine grace has appeared to the inhabited world. The Church. having taken up the Lord’s form. and it was chosen presumably because of the words of the Apostle Philip to Nathaniel. and also the prophets. Christ’s tunic. together with other hymns of victory to Christ the Victor. The other troparion formed part of the ancient office for the First Sunday of Lent. which we all believers celebrate before the Passion and Resurrection of the Master’ [PG 99:185]. which was dedicated to the Prophets.

double in being. Rejoice. Both now.3 Let the haters. Ode 3. Be ashamed. Who would speak out the foul doctrines and lawless teachings of the insane John. which we embrace in a relative manner. which you clearly handed down. be ashamed and turned back. I contemplate you. expounding Delphic ways? . God appeared to mortals in human form. deliver me from trials of every kind. were put to shame. O Trinity. and have now restored to the Church her robe. as you behold the worship of the Icons. Establish. dreadful Lizix and Antony with John and Theodore. Glory. O Christ. Father. and worship your divine might. as you are good. O Virgin. of which John had stripped me’. for I believe in you. you lawless. ‘I have received my beauty and put on my robe. for he was incarnate and has been made manifest in an image. Theotokion. [Twice] Let the all-unblemished Church cry out. all you choirs of Fathers and Apostles. Son and all-holy Spirit. who battle against the Lord. both deniers of the faith. who opposed Moses the Lawgiver of old. Lord. the Church for which you poured out your blood. You tore apart the faction of God’s foes. the form of his form we hold in veneration. while now John the deceiver is truly routed with Antony. Iannes and Iambres. Wearing from you the royal robe.

heeding not the words of Nestorios. and peace . Let us worship with right belief the will that is without beginning. ever rejecting Arius. and whatever counsel such men counselled. continuous exiles are no more. like the Apostles. blood that was shed by John. Both now. Rejoice with gladness. the cowards have again been worsted. and every city. the blood shed by their blows have truly ceased. The stripes of the Fathers. you multitudes of monks. together with insane Theodotos! The blood shed for the divine likeness of the incarnate Master cries out.4 Anathema to Lizix and John. Ode 4. Theotokion. We confess you to be truly the Sovereign Lady who gave birth to God. O Church. but the doctrines of the Fathers. the spectacle of his Incarnation. the Lord will scatter. Assemble rejoicing with boldness. with Antony. Let then fittingly worship the relics and icons of the Martyrs. The Lord has expelled the horde of aliens and has given back to his own what was theirs. let the monasteries be opened and the nunneries adorned. Christ invites you! Now godly Fathers assemble with eagerness and recount. for though they were evilly strong. his miracles and his sufferings. The prophet heard. Glory to his goodness! Glory. town and village. the authority and sovereign power of the Trinity. Theodore the godless blasphemer. as the Sacred Gospel writes.

Christ has conquered! Let earth leap for joy! Tumult has ceased. the traitor. Holy. They defiled your Temple with unlawful ordinations for money.5 is being established for all. O Virgin Mother. O uncreated Monarchy. Against the wild beasts and enemies of God. the weeping of the Lord’s servants too has ceased. as they cry. No longer does the work of magic have force. who bore your own Creator. John. and their wine was the rag of the dragon. Holier than the holies. [Twice] . and with him John and Antony. Ode 5. Son and Spirit. higher than all creatures you were named. Theotokion. O Birth-giver of God. whose praise the many-eyed Cherubim and the sixwinged Seraphim sing. Glory. ‘Holy. foul Antony. of satanic mind and enemy of the Church. and they have been canonically cast out and are fallen from divine glory: Simon Magus. The vine of evil spread out its branches of impiety and flowered with the bitter grape cluster. while everywhere the Faith has been unfurled for the world. assembled like fierce wolves. therefore we offer worship to your holy form. Holy are you. ‘Anathema!’. from which they truly gave the Lord’s people the evil-minded drink. Father. Rising in the night. for ‘God is with us’. let us believers shout out three times. we worship you. O Highest and Almighty!’ Both now.

The garrulous and blasphemous spirit of Lyzikos has ceased. I cried from my whole heart. as the beauteous golden lamp that gave birth for the world to the spiritual light and diminished the misty fog. Glory to you who sustain the universe by your might! Glory to you. Ode 6. On the day of judgement. the holy Icons. Theotokion. Son and Spirit. Glory. Annas and Caiaphas. greeting Christ and his symbols. deliver from harm of every kind those who believe in you. Unity in Three Persons. we love it with reverence. they assembled a synod of impious priests against God most high. thrice wretched man. Both now. Father. The unsleeping guardians of Christ’s Church cried out. asking him that she be given peace. but do not honour them as gods. the Fathers who flesh you stripped bare with unnumbered blows. that continually by day and night spoke out against the divine image of Christ and his Saints. do you hate the immaculate image of Christ’s incarnation and of all the Saints? For surely we believers do not worship dumb idols. He heard and was attentive to their prayer. the company of the Fathers will stand as accusers of your godless soul. We reverence you. [Twice] . Why. most wretched man. do we? Lighting on instruments of impiety. and we worship them. crying that they were all deprived by you of the image of the Lord and of his Saints. All the Churches will shout aloud.6 Seeing the Crucifixion in an Icon. of old. Sovereign Lady and Virgin. like the Jews.

formed in flesh is praised. who had been held in its flames for four weeks of years. you wretch. be ashamed! And let Theodotos and Lizix and Theodore. consuming the spiritual Chaldeans. Both now. Ode 7. Father. but in blasphemies against your Master. Pure Maiden glorified by God. but with the wind of the godly Teachers they have been dispersed. Theotokion. The smoke of your tears filled the eyes of the devout. demented John. Fellow workers of error.7 The game traps of the deceiver have been exposed by the teachings of the Fathers. like Arius of old Christ’s tunic. You overthrew the doctrines of the Fathers and the teachings of the Apostles. that abyss of destruction. for God is one. writing against them in accordance with your lawless cult. from which your Maker was born. bedewing the servants of the Trinity. be destroyed with Antony. I glorify one source of Godhead in three hypostases. and God. not in spiritual songs. We have sinned. Glory. who is uncircumscribed in his Godhead. [Twice] . you were revealed as City of God. therefore you have been cast out of the Church like a dog. Son and Spirit. Prophetically. enemy of Christ. preserving you after childbearing as you were before. though distinct in characteristics and persons. You ripped apart the divine robe. John. rejecting the honourable fashioning of Icons. we have offended. You opened your mouth. Divine grace has now quenched the furnace of heresy.

Holy. he bore as human in order to save us. Mother of God. Holy are you. bearing their symbols to the end. all-powerful. . robed. whose manner of life you rivalled. The Lord’s people that bears Christ’s name celebrates. Glory. which the voices of the just have utterly destroyed. and Apollo. ‘Holy. Sure Bridge for Christians. The monstrosities and wizardries of the enemy of Christ have been destroyed. of his incarnation and sufferings. Chronos. Eternal. though in hid Godhead he is simple and uncircumscribed. In flesh the Word was poor and hungry and thirsty.8 The Church is adorned. falsely named John and forerunner of the Antichrist Satan? There was no need for you to be so named. the boast of the faithful and their refuge. inflated by their writings. though being God. you alone are she that helps all and saves them from dangers. keeps festival. for he has been revealed as equal of the Greeks. Whom the armies of Heaven. What tongue will recount your most damaging and soul destroying doctrines or the utterance of your belly. but rather Pythagoras. we believers all worship a Trinity. delighting in your impieties. beyond understanding. Son and Spirit. which. these being the attributes of the human nature. Ode 8. O God!’ Both now. and let us confess them without confusion as we cry. made fair with the form of the Master of all things. in accordance with God’s laws. Father. Theotokion. through which he is circumscribed. seeing the Church once again resplendent with the beauty of the divine form. Sovereign Lady.

9 Believers. clap your hands. Conception without seed. Sure bridge of Christians. let us glorify to the ages. Glory. Nations. Lezix and John. come together. when you see that all under heaven has been adorned with Christ’s imprint. the deniers of true religion. Both now. stoned by lawless men on John’s instruction. ranged themselves in serried ranks as for against Christ’s image. Who would not grieve on seeing the outrageous act of daring. lawlessly said they would in no way worship the sacred relics of the saints and their Icons. darkened in mind. the divine image over the Bronze gate of the palace. Ascetics and those in the mountains. the yoke of Beliar. the Word and the Spirit that shines out with them. that of old . How do you not understand. let us all rejoice like the prophets and let us mystically be glad. Dread Lezix. As we all devoutly reverence the all-creating Divine Power in three Forms. choirs of Father. Theotokion. you alone help all and save them from dangers. but alone you had the understanding of the Jews? You thought you would utterly destroy the incarnate Image of the Lord and all the saints from the holy Churches. Sovereign Lady and Mother of God. Ode 9. assaulting the Church with axe of wickedness. boast of the faithful and their refuge. along with John. blind wretch. hurry. for this is the day on which Christ the Word gave back to the Church his own robe. but divine grace has destroyed your tyranny. you. the Father who has no beginning.

for Christ. all you mountains. protection and assistance of all. Help. with Antony and impious Theodore. [Twice] Desert. hills. who gave your peace to your Apostles. Longsuffering Lord. how wonderful are your works! Who will number your love for humankind? Who. be glad. one single kingship. the One Nature in Three Hypostases. and number them as rational sheep in the sheepfold of your holy Church. the Word. that we may all sincerely worship you with a single hymn of glory and glorify you. who fixed the Church unshaken – and the gates of Hell did not prevail – grant your peace to your people. would not burn up the deceivers? But you. when they see your Priests and Ascetics slain for the sake of your Icon. Both now. stand under anathema. giving strength today to godly Teachers to proclaim boldness his condescension and to depict with sureness his incarnation in icons. Theotokion. . Let all who do not honour the imprint of your embodying. and to the godly Churches unity of faith. Glory. Lord. almighty sovereignty that holds the universe in being. Christ has appeared. The God of just sentences has now pronounced with freedom. has given peace to those on earth. with your hand gathering the scattered. I glorify the Godhead of Father. endured.10 were persecuted by John the impious deceiver. Master. O Mother of God. Essence Undivided. now too grant your calm to all. have come publicly to heap scorn on wizardry and spells. above all John. Theodotos and all the rest of the opponents of the Faith. Master. when insulted. drop down sweetness. Separate in Persons. show that you can intercede for all those who take refuge in you and that you drive away the impious by the power of your Son. rejoice. Son and Spirit. with the whole inhabited world. for as Mother you can do all things.

Christ our God. because the Cross. save our souls. Tone 2. . The choir of the Prophets gladly rejoices today with Moses and Aaron. bringing the end of prophecy.11 And when we reach the appointed place. At their intercessions. Both now. Another. we say the Troparion: We worship your most pure Icon… Glory. by which you saved us. shines out.