Dismissal Hymn of the Holy Fathers

Ὑπερδεδοξασμένος εἶ, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, ὁ
φωστῆρας ἐπὶ γῆς τοὺς Πατέρας ἡμῶν θεμελιώσας,
καὶ δι’ αὐτῶν πρὸς τὴν ἀληθινὴν πίστιν, πάντας
ἡμᾶς ὁδηγήσας· πολυεύσπλαγχνε, δόξα σοι.

You are glorified above all, Christ our God, who
established our Fathers as beacons on the earth,
and through them guided us all to the true faith. O
highly compassionate, glory to you!

“Among the ministers of God some were outstanding for the word of wisdom, others for their severity of life and patient endurance, others were adorned by their moderation. Some among them were honoured for their length of years, others shone with youth and spiritual energy, some had just reached the road of priestly ministry.” (Eusebius of Caesarea, Life of Constantine) The Church celebrates the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Synod (9 June this year), one week before the feast of Pentecost (16 June).

The Holy Fathers were called together by the Emperor Constantine the Great to settle some outstanding practical and theological issues that threatened to divide the Church. Many of the Bishops and Priests who gathered at the town of Nicaea in 325 A.D. had suffered for their faith during the recent persecutions of Christians. Some were blinded, some had limbs amputated. They had patiently endured these, as the Church Historian, Eusebius described, out of their love for Christ. For them, what was being discussed was not some dry, academic argument but basic essential issues of dogma, (the faith and teachings that had been passed down from the Apostles), and life itself.

The crucial question was, “Is Christ God-Man, or just a Godly Man as the Arian’s falsely claimed?” The Council’s decision had Ecumenical significance because, as the late Archbishop Stylianos of Australia wrote: “Every synod, which deals with matters affecting the essence of the Church can be called ecumenical, irrespective of its reception by the entire Christian Church according to a majority vote. What is sufficient is that the teaching formulated by the synod corresponds to the genuine spirit of the Church.” The Holy Fathers themselves lived and suffered for the Faith they taught. This is why they were able to correctly guide the Church for all ages and why our Church honours them as “beacons”, who “guided us all to the true faith.”

Source: Lychnos July-August 2019