July 14, 2019

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod


Bright-bearing stars of the invisible heavens,
Illumine our hearts with your rays.

The Holy Fourth Ecumenical Synod took place in Chalcedon, near Constantinople, in the Church of Saint Euphemia, in the year 451, when Marcian was the Roman Emperor. 630 Bishops were present.

The Synod of Chalcedon was concerned, once again, with the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. The teaching arose that Christ's human nature (less perfect) dissolved itself in His divine nature (more perfect): like a cube of sugar in a cup of water. Thus, in reality, Christ had only one nature, the Divine. Hence, the term: Monophysites ("mono" - one, and "physis" - nature) Monophysitism overemphasized the divine nature of Christ, at the expense of the human.

The Holy Synod condemned Monophysitism and proclaimed that Christ has two complete natures: the divine and the human, as defined by previous Synods. These two natures function without confusion, are not divided nor separate (against Nestorius), and at no time did they undergo any change (against Eutyches and the Monophysites).

Concerning the visible organization of the Church, Canon 28 confirmed Canon 3 of the Second Ecumenical Synod and affirmed the assignment of Constantinople, or New Rome, as equal in honor with Old Rome. Thus in order of Pentarchy, they were as follows: 1. Rome & Constantinople, 2. Alexandria, 3. Antioch, 4. Jerusalem.

The Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod takes place on the Sunday that falls between July 13th and 19th. According to others, the Fourth Ecumenical Synod is commemorated on July 11th in conjunction with the Miracle of Saint Euphemia, in which she confirmed the true faith in Chalcedon, while the Sunday that falls between July 13th and 19th commemorates the Holy Fathers of the Six Ecumenical Synods.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Glorious art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast established our holy fathers as stars on earth. Through them Thou dost guide us to the true faith. O Most Merciful One, glory to Thee.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The preaching of the Apostles and the doctrine of the Fathers confirmed the one faith in the Church. In the garment of truth woven from theology on high she rightly divides and glorifies true piety.