The Synodikon of Orthodoxy

NOTE: The “Synodikon of Orthodoxy” is a text contained in the “Triodion” and read in Church on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Lent. Anyone who reads the “Synodikon of Orthodoxy” will discover at once that, on the one hand, the heretics are anathematised and on the other hand the holy Fathers and confessors are acclaimed. For the former those present proclaim “anathema” three times, for the latter the people proclaim “eternal memory” three times at each proposal. Some people are scandalised when they see and hear such action, particularly when they hear “anathema”. They consider it very harsh and say that the spirit of hatred of other doctrines which the Orthodox Church has is being expressed in this way. Following the Gospel admonition, “Bless and do not curse,” the Synodikon is generally not read in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.300x300

The text of the Synodikon of Orthodoxy has been much altered over the centuries, chiefly by the addition of material and names that postdate the Restoration of the Icons in 843. This is the case with the text that is printed in the current Triodia. Some of the more zealous contemporary Orthodox even include condemnations of such things as the ‘pan-heresy of Ecumenism‘.  It is probably impossible to reconstruct the original text exactly. However the British Library possesses a manuscript, (BL. Additional 28816) written in 1110 or 1111 by a monk Andrew of the monastery of Oleni in Moraea, which may give some idea of the scope and contents of the original. In the opinion of Jean Gouillard, the editor of the critical edition of the Synodikon, ‘the London manuscript is certainly one of the best witnesses to the primitive and purely Constantinopolitan form of the Synodikon’. The manuscript was unknown to him when he prepared his edition and has in consequence been generally neglected.


This text of the Synodikon is written at the end of a manuscript of the Acts, Epistles and Apocalypse, with the somewhat misleading title ‘Definition [Horos] of the 7th Holy Synod’. The text of the Synodikon is finely written in red and black and is provided throughout with ekphonetic notation. The text was, therefore, intended to be solemnly chanted, like the Apostle or Gospel, and not simply read. A number of names, in particular those of Symeon Stylites and Theodore the Studite, are given special prominence. The words ’God will give their kingdom peace. Heavenly King, protect those on earth!’ are, it seems, peculiar to this manuscript. The seven numbered paragraphs are so numbered in the margin of the manuscript.


A popular icon in the monasteries.
A popular icon in the monasteries.


Another article in Greek: