The Council of Jerusalem (1672) is historically known as a Pan-Orthodox Council. The popular English translation, up until now the only one available, is of the 1672 version of the Paris Edition. But is this what the Russian version translated by Saint Filaret of Moscow is based on?
There are two stories that surround the Russian version of the Confession of Dositheus. Archbishop Vasily (Krivoshein) (a Moscow Patriarch bishop of Brussels who died in 1985) in his Symbolic Texts in the Orthodox Church asserts that the version from Saint Filaret is a different Confession than the 1672 one. Allegedly, this version was modified by Doistheus in 1690 and it was this modified version which received Pan-Orthodox reception in the Council(s) of Constantinople (in 1721 and) 1723. The modified version then was, allegedly, sent to Russia in the same year, as revealed by precise description of its contents in Symbolic Texts.
Mikhail Bernacky asserts that there are two versions of the Confession. The first edition from 1672 was published in Paris in 1676. Another version was made in 1690 and in 1691 was sent to Patriarch Adrian of Moscow, who had it translated into Russian. (It should be noted that many of Dositheus’ books were still handwritten and not published books.) However, in 1723 the 1672 version was sent yet again, as it had again attained Pan-Orthodox reception in Constantinople. In 1728, the 1672 document was again translated into Russian, but was not published. The 1672 text was again translated into Russian by Saint Filaret of Moscow in 1838 and it was this text which was published.
Bernacky’s rendering of events appears more detailed and credible. If so, what follows is a translation from the Russian of Saint Filaret’s version of the Confession. It contains no significant changes, but it has a noticeable more anti-Latin bent. For example, Decree 18 makes it clearer that the Orthodox conception of prayers for the dead is not Purgatory. In Decree 10, it rejects there being a permanent, visible head of the Church–an obvious swipe at the Papacy. Decree 17 still includes the teaching on transubstantiation, showing that the Roman Catholic categories of thought on this issue were in effect “baptized” by the Church and never modified by Filaret’s anti-Latin tendencies. It is also of interest, in a show of moderation to Protestants, Question 1 is rendered not to outright ban the private reading of Scriptures, as the 1672 version seems to state, but rather requires Orthodox oversight and accountability in the process. Additionally, it avoids giving a Biblical canon, an interesting change as the 1672 version essentially endorsed the canon as found in the Council of Trent. Saint Filaret’s Catechism, published earlier, contained a 66 book canon. Interestingly, Decree 16 on the condemnation of unbaptized infants appears (in translation) more tersely worded.
While the 1690 version in fact received reception from the Moscow Patriarchate, it did not meet the criteria of Pan-Orthodox reception unlike the 1672 version–which was accepted by all jurisdictions in 1723 (by this point potentially even Georgia, see comment below). Saint Filaret’s 1838 version, likewise accepted by the Russian synod, would in effect serve as a pious (re)interpretation of the document in the sections where it differs.
I initially published the translation here (from Google Translate) under the impression that this document was the authoritative 1723 version due to Archbishop Vasily (Krivoshein)’s presentation of the document. Taking Bernacky as authoritative, this now serves a different purpose, as it offers a window into Saint Filaret’s thought. This is obviously not a scholarly translation, but makes available a readable version of the finalized Confession of Dositheus for popular use. Recourse to the original Greek of course is preferable.
We believe in the One true, Almighty and Infinite God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: the unbegotten Father, the Son, born of the Father before the ages, the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father, consubstantial to the Father and the Son. We call these three Persons (Hypostases) in one being the All-Holy Trinity, always blessed, glorified and worshiped by all creation.
We believe that Divine and Holy Scripture is inspired by God; therefore, we must believe him unquestioningly, and, moreover, not somehow in our own way, but precisely as the Catholic Church explained and conveyed it . For even the superstition of heretics accepts Divine Scripture, only misrepresents it, using allegorical and similarly meaningful expressions and tricks of human wisdom, merging what cannot be merged, and playing childishly with such objects that are not subject to jokes. Otherwise, if everyone daily began to interpret the Scriptures in his own way, then the Catholic Church would not have remained such a Church until now, by the grace of Christ; who, being of one mind in faith, always believes equally and unshakably, but would be divided into innumerable parts, would be subjected to heresies, and at the same time would cease to be the Holy Church, the pillar and affirmation of the truth [1 Tim 3:15], but would become the Church of the evildoers, that is, as must, without a doubt, be considered the church of heretics who are not ashamed to learn from the Church, and then lawlessly reject it. Therefore, we believe that the testimony of the Catholic Church is no less valid than the Divine Scripture, since the Creator of both is the same Holy Spirit, it makes no difference whether one learns from the Scriptures or from the Universal Church. A person who speaks for himself can sin, deceive and be deceived; but the universal church, since she never spoke and does not speak from herself, but from the Spirit of God (which she has unceasingly and will have as her Teacher until the eternity), she can in no way sin, neither deceive, nor be deceived; but, like Divine Scripture, it is infallible and has everlasting importance.
We believe that the all-good God predestined to glory those whom He chose from eternity; and those whom He rejected, those He put under condemnation, not, however, because He wanted to justify some in this way, and leave others and condemn without reason; for this is not characteristic of God, the common and impartial Father, “who desires that all men and men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” ( 1 Tim. 2:4 ), but since He foresaw that some would use their free will well, while others therefore some he predestinated to glory, and others he condemned. On the use of freedom, we reason as follows: inasmuch as the goodness of God bestowed divine and enlightening grace, also called by us prevenient grace, which, like a light that enlightens those who walk in darkness, guides all; then those who wish to freely submit to her (for she assists those who seek her, and not those who oppose her), and fulfill her commands, which are necessary for salvation, therefore receive special grace, which, assisting, strengthening and constantly perfecting them in the love of God, i.e. in those good works that God requires of us (and which the prevenient grace also required), justifies them and makes them predestined; those, on the contrary, who do not want to obey and follow grace, and therefore do not keep the commandments of God, but, following the suggestions of Satan, abuse their freedom given to them from God so that they voluntarily do good – they are subjected to eternal condemnation.
But what the blasphemous heretics say, that God predestinates or condemns, no matter what the deeds of those predestined or condemned, we consider foolishness and wickedness; for in such a case Scripture would contradict itself. It teaches that every believer is saved by faith and his works, and at the same time presents God as the only author of our salvation, since that is, He first gives enlightening grace, which gives a person the knowledge of Divine truth and teaches him to conform to it (if he does not resist) and do good that is pleasing to God in order to receive salvation, not destroying the free will of a person, but leaving it to obey or disobey her action. Is it not insane after this, without any reason to assert that the Divine will is the fault of the misfortune of the condemned? Doesn’t this mean uttering a terrible slander against God? Doesn’t this mean uttering terrible injustice and blasphemy against heaven? God not involved in any evil, equally desires the salvation of all, He has no place for partiality; why do we confess that He justly condemns those who remain in wickedness because of their corrupt will and unrepentant heart. But we have never, never called and will not call the culprit of eternal punishment and torment, as if misanthropic, God, Who Himself said that there is joy in heaven over the only repentant sinner. We never dare to believe or think in this way as long as we have consciousness; and those who speak and think so, we anathematize eternally and recognize as the worst of all unbelievers.
We believe that the Trinitarian God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the Creator of everything visible and invisible. By the name of the invisible, we mean the Angelic Forces, rational souls and demons (although God did not create the demons in the same way as they later became of their own free will); but visible we call heaven and everything under heaven. Since the Creator is essentially good, therefore, everything that only He created, He created beautiful, and never wants to be the Creator of evil. If there is in a man or in a demon (for we simply do not know evil in nature) some kind of evil, i.e. sin , contrary to the will of God, then this evil comes either from a person or from the devil. For it is perfectly true, and beyond all doubt, that God cannot be the author of evil, and that, therefore, perfect justice demands that it should not be attributed to God.
We believe that everything that exists, visible and invisible, is controlled by Divine Providence; however, evil, God only foresees and allows, but does not provide for it, since He did not create it. And the evil that has already happened is directed towards something useful by the supreme goodness, which itself does not create evil, but only directs it to the best, as far as possible. We should not test, but revere before the Divine Providence and His secret and untested destinies. However, what is revealed to us about this in the Holy Scriptures, as relating to eternal life, we should investigate with prudence and, along with the first concepts of God, accept as undoubted.
We believe that the first man created by God fell in paradise at the time when he disobeyed the commandment of God, following the treacherous advice of the serpent, and that from here the ancestral sin spread successively to all offspring so that there is not one of those born according to the flesh who is free from that burden and did not feel the consequences of the fall in this life. And the burden and consequence of the fall, we call not the sin itself, such as: impiety, blasphemy, murder, hatred, and everything else that comes from an evil human heart, contrary to the will of God, and not from nature; (for many Forefathers, Prophets and countless others, both in the Old and New Testaments, men, also the divine Forerunner and mainly the Mother of God the Word and Ever-Virgin Mary, were not involved in both this and other similar sins), but the inclination to sin and those calamities with which Divine justice punished a person for his disobedience, such as: exhausting labors, sorrows, bodily infirmities, illnesses of birth, hard life on earth for some time, wanderings, and finally bodily death.
Decree 7 [Decree 8 in 1672 edition]
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ there is our only Advocate, Who gave Himself for the redemption of all, became by His own blood the reconciliation of man with God, and remains the guardian Defender of His followers and the propitiation for our sins. We also confess that the Saints intercede for us in prayers and petitions to Him, and most of all the Immaculate Mother of the Divine Word, also our Holy Guardian Angels, Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, the Righteous and all whom He glorified as His faithful servants, to whom we rank Bishops, Priests, as coming to the holy altar, and righteous men, known for their virtue. For we know from Holy Scripture that we must pray for one another, that the prayer of the righteous can accomplish much, and that God is more attentive to the Saints than to those who remain in sin. We also confess that the Saints are mediators and intercessors for us before God, not only here, during their stay with us, but even more so after death, when, after the destruction of the mirror [1 Cor 13:12] (which the Apostle mentions), they contemplate the Holy Trinity and Her infinite light in all clarity. For just as we do not doubt that the Prophets, while still in a mortal body, saw heavenly things, and therefore predicted the future, so we not only do not doubt, but we unshakably believe and confess that the Angels, and the Saints, who became as it were Angels, in the infinite light of God, see our needs.
Decree 8 [Decree 7 in 1672 edition]
We believe that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ , exhausted Himself, that is, He took upon Himself in His own hypostasis human flesh, conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary from the Holy Spirit, and became human; that He was born without sorrow and illness of His Mother according to the flesh and without violating Her virginity – suffered, was buried, rose in glory on the third day according to the Scriptures, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, and again will come, as we expect, to judge the living and the dead.
We believe that no one can be saved without faith. By faith we call our right conception of God and Divine things. Promoted by love, or, which is the same, by the fulfillment of the Divine commandments, it justifies us through Christ, and without it it is impossible to please God.
We believe, as we have been taught to believe, in such a name and in the thing itself, that is, the Holy, Ecumenical, Apostolic Church, which embraces everyone and everywhere, whoever they may be, who believe in Christ, who now, being in earthly wandering, not yet settled in the heavenly home. But we by no means confuse the Church that is wandering with the Church that has reached the fatherland, only because, as some of the heretics think, that both exist; that both of them constitute, as it were, two flocks of one Archpastor of God and are sanctified by one Holy Spirit. Such a mixture of them is inappropriate and impossible, since one is at war and is on the way, while the other is already triumphant, has reached the fatherland and received a reward, which will follow with the entire Universal Church. Since a person is subject to death and cannot be the permanent head of the Church, then our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as the Head, holding the helm of the Church’s government, governs it through the Holy Fathers. For this purpose, the Holy Spirit appointed Bishops to private [local] Churches, legally founded and legally composed of members, as Governors, Pastors, Heads and Leaders, who are such by no means out of abuse, but legally, indicating in these Pastors the image of the Head and Finisher of our Salvation, so that the communities of believers under this government ascended into His power. Since, among other impious opinions, the heretics also asserted that a simple Priest and a Bishop are equal to each other, that it is possible to exist without a Bishop, that several Priests can govern the Church, that not only one Bishop, but also a Priest can ordain a Priest, the [allegedly early] Church shares this error with them; then we, in accordance with the opinion prevailing in the Eastern Church since ancient times, confirm that the title of Bishop is so necessary in the Church that without it the Church would not [be a Church], no Christian would be a Christian, but also cannot be called [a Christian]. For the Bishop, as an apostolic successor, having received by succession the power given to him from God by the laying on of hands and invocation of the Holy Spirit, is the living image of God on earth and, by the hierarchical power of the Holy Spirit, the abundant source of all the Mysteries of the Universal Church, by which salvation is acquired. We believe that the Bishop is as necessary to the Church as breathing is to man and the sun is to the world. Therefore, some in praise of the hierarchical dignity say well: “That God is in the Church of the first-born in heaven and the sun in the world, then each Bishop in his own private Church; so that by him the flock is illuminated, warmed, and made the temple of God,”—that the great sacrament and the title of Bishopric have come to us successively, this is obvious. For the Lord, who promised to be with us forever, although He is with us under other images of grace and divine beneficences, but [specifically] through the sacrament the episcopal communicates with us in a special way, stays and unites with us through the sacred sacraments, of which the first performer and minister of the priesthood, by the power of the Spirit, is the Bishop, and does not allow us to fall into heresy. Therefore holy John of Damascus in his fourth letter to the Africans says that the Church Ecumenical was generally entrusted to the Bishops; that the successors of Peter are recognized: in Rome – Clement the first Bishop, in Antioch – Evodius, in Alexandria – Mark; that St. Andrew placed Stachy on the throne of Constantinople; but in the great holy city of Jerusalem, the Lord appointed James as Bishop, after whom there was another Bishop, and after him another, and so on even before us. That is why Tertullian, in a letter to Papian, calls all the Bishops successors of the Apostles. Eusebius Pamphilus also testifies to their succession, Apostolic dignity and power.and many of the Fathers, it would be superfluous to enumerate, an equally common and ancient custom of the Universal Church. It is also obvious that the episcopal rank differs from the rank of a simple Priest. For a Priest is ordained by a Bishop, and a Bishop is ordained not by Priests, but, according to the Apostolic Canon , by two or three Bishops. Moreover, the Priest is elected by the Bishop, and the Bishop is not elected by Priests or Presbyters or secular authorities, but by the Council of the highest Church of the region where the city for which the ordained one is appointed is located, or, at least, by the Council of the region where the Bishop should be. Sometimes, however, he is elected by a whole city; but not simply [elected], but [the city] presents his election to the Council; and if it turns out to be in accordance with the rules, then the chosen one is produced by episcopal ordination through the invocation of the Holy Spirit. Besides this, The priest accepts the power and grace of the Priesthood only for himself, while the bishop passes it on to others. The first, having received the Priesthood from the Bishop, performs only holy baptism with prayers, performs a bloodless sacrifice, distributes to the people the holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, anoints those who are baptized with holy chrism, crowns those piously and legally entering into marriage, prays for the sick, for salvation and bringing in the knowledge of the truth of all people, but mainly about the forgiveness and forgiveness of sins of the Orthodox, the living and the dead, and, finally, since he is distinguished by knowledge and virtue, then, according to the authority given to him by the bishop, he teaches those of the Orthodox who come to him, showing them the way to receive the Kingdom of Heaven and is delivered as a preacher of the Holy Gospel. But the Bishop, in addition to doing all this (for he, as it is said, is the source of the Divine sacraments and gifts by the power of the Holy Spirit), one exclusively performs the holy myrrh, to him alone is initiation into all degrees and positions of the Church; he especially and predominantly has the power to bind and loose and execute, according to the commandment of the Lord, a judgment pleasing to God; he preaches the Holy Gospel and affirms the Orthodox in the Faith, and excommunicates the disobedient, like pagans and publicans, from the Church, betrays heretics to eruption and anathema, and lays down his soul for the sheep. This reveals the indisputable difference between a Bishop and a simple Priest, and together with the fact that, apart from him, all the Priests in the world cannot pasture. He [the Bishop] especially and predominantly has the power to bind and loose and execute, according to the commandment of the Lord, a judgment pleasing to God; he preaches the Holy Gospel and affirms the Orthodox in the Faith, and excommunicates the disobedient, like pagans and publicans, from the Church, betrays heretics to eruption and anathema, and lays down his soul for the sheep. This reveals the indisputable difference between a Bishop and a simple Priest, and together with the fact that, apart from him, all the Priests in the world cannot pasture the church of God and rule it perfectly. But one of the Fathers rightly remarked that it is not easy to find a judicious person among heretics; because, leaving the Church , they are left by the Holy Spirit, and neither knowledge nor light remains in them, but darkness and blindness. For if this had not happened to them, they would not have rejected the most obvious, such as, for example, the truly great sacrament of the Bishopric, which Scripture speaks of, Church history and the writings of the Saints mention, and which has always been recognized and confessed by the entire Universal Church.
We believe that the members of the Catholic Church are all, and only the faithful, i.e. undoubtedly professing the pure Faith of the Savior Christ (which we received from Christ Himself, from the Apostles and Holy Ecumenical Councils), even though some of them were subject to various sins. For if the faithful but [some of them being] sinners were not members of the Church, they would not be subject to her judgment. But she judges them, calls them to repentance, and leads them to the path of saving commandments; wherefore, in spite of the fact that they are subjected to sins, they remain and are recognized as members of the Catholic Church, so long as they do not become apostates and hold on to the Catholic and Orthodox Faith.
We believe that the Holy Spirit teaches the Catholic Church , for He is the true Comforter whom Christ sends from the Father in order to teach the truth and drive away darkness from the minds of the faithful. The Holy Spirit teaches the Church through the Holy Fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church. For, like all Scripture, it is admittedly the Word of the Holy Spirit, not because He directly spoke it, but spoke in it through the Apostles and Prophets; so does the Church learn from the Life-Giving Spirit, but not otherwise than through the mediation of the Holy Fathers and teachers (whose rules are recognized by the Holy Ecumenical Councils, which we will not stop repeating); why we are not only convinced, but also undoubtedly confess, as a firm truth, that the Catholic Church cannot err or err and speak a lie instead of the truth; for the Holy Spirit, always acting through the faithful servants of the Fathers and teachers of the Church, protects her from all error.
We believe that a person is justified not simply by faith alone, but by faith urged on by love, that is, by faith–through faith and works. Let us recognize as completely unholy the idea that faith, replacing works, acquires justification in Christ; for faith in this sense could be appropriate for everyone, and there would be no unsaved, which is obviously false. On the contrary, we believe that it is not the specter of faith alone, but the faith that is in us through works justifies us in Christ. We honor deeds not only as evidence confirming our calling, but also as fruits that make our faith active and can, according to the Divine promise, deliver to everyone a well-deserved reward, good or bad, depending on what he has done with his body.
We believe that a person who has fallen through sin has become like dumb cattle, that is, he has darkened and lost his perfection and dispassion, but he has not lost the nature and strength that he received from the All-Good God. For otherwise he would have become unreasonable, and consequently not a man; but he would have that nature with which he was created, and a natural force, free, living, active, so that by nature he could choose and do good, flee and turn away from evil. And that a person by nature can do good, the Lord also points to this when he says that the Gentiles love those who love them (Compare Luke 6:32 , Matt. 5:46 ), and the Apostle Paul teaches very clearly ( Rom. 1, 19 ), and in other places, where he says that “the nations, who do not have the law, create lawful nature” (Romans 2:14). From this it is evident that the good done by man cannot be sin; for good cannot be evil. Being natural, it makes a person only spiritual, and not spiritual [i.e. supernatural], and without faith [works] alone does not contribute to salvation, but it also does not serve to condemnation; for [natural] good, like [spiritual] good, cannot be the cause of evil. In those regenerated by grace, being strengthened by grace, it becomes perfect and makes a person worthy of salvation. Although a person before regeneration may by nature be inclined towards good, choose and do moral good, but in order that, having been reborn, he could do spiritual good (for the works of faith, being the cause of salvation and accomplished by supernatural grace, are usually called spiritual), for this it is necessary so that grace would precede and lead, as it is said about the predestined; so that he cannot do things by himself.
We believe that the Church has the Gospel Mysteries, seven in number. We have neither less nor more than this number of Sacraments in the Church. The number of Sacraments beyond seven is invented by foolish heretics. The sevenfold number of the Sacraments is affirmed in Holy Scripture , as well as other dogmas of the Orthodox Faith. And firstly: the Lord gave us Holy Baptism in these words: “Go and teach all languages, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” ( Matt. 28:19 ); “Whoever has faith and is baptized, he will be saved; but whoever does not have faith, he will be condemned” ( Mark 16:16 ). The Sacrament of the Holy Chrism, or Holy Chrismation, is also based on the words of the Savior: “But you are sitting in the city of Jerusalem until clothed with power from on high” ( Luke 24:49), with which power the Apostles were clothed after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. This power is communicated through the sacrament of Chrismation, which is also discussed by the Apostle Paul ( 2 Cor. 1, 21-22 ), and more clearly by Dionysius the Areopagite . The priesthood is based on the following words: “Do this in remembrance of Me” ( 1 Corinthians 11:24 ); also: “ If you bind on earth, you will be bound in heaven; and if thou shalt permit on earth, it shall be permitted in heaven” ( Matt. 16:19 ). Bloodless Sacrifice – on the following: “Take, eat: this is my body” ( 1 Cor. 11:24), “drink from her all, this … is my blood of the New Testament” ( Matt. 26:27-28 ); “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, you do not drink His blood, you do not have life in yourself” ( John 6:53 ). The sacrament of marriage has its basis in the words of God himself, spoken about him in the Old Testament ( Gen. 2:24 ); which words were confirmed by Jesus Christ, saying: “Even … God combines, let not man separate” ( Matt. 19:6 ; Mark 10:9 ). The Apostle Paul calls marriage “a great mystery” ( Eph. 5:32 ). Repentance, with which the mystical confession is united, is affirmed in these words of Scripture:“Forgive them their sins, they will be forgiven; and hold on to them, hold on” ( John 20:23 ); also: “Unless you repent, you will all perish” ( Luke 13:3 ). The Evangelist Mark mentions the sacrament of the Holy Oil, or the prayerful Oil, and the brother of God testifies more clearly ( James 5:14-15 ).
The sacraments are composed of the natural and the supernatural, and are not solely signs of the promises of God. We recognize them as instruments that necessarily work grace on those who approach them. But we reject, as alien to the Christian teaching, the opinion that the celebration of the sacrament takes place only during the actual use (for example, eating, etc.) of an earthly thing (that is, sanctified in the sacrament; as if the thing sanctified in the sacrament is out of use and after consecration remains a simple thing). This is contrary to the sacrament of Communion, which, having been instituted by the Pre-Essential Word and sanctified by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, is performed by the presence of the signified, that is, the body and blood of Christ. And the celebration of this sacrament necessarily precedes its use through communion. For if it had not been done before its communion: then he who partakes unworthily would not eat or drink for his own judgment; because he would partake of plain bread and wine. And now, joining“unworthy , he eats and drinks judgment for himself” ( 1 Cor. 11, 29 ). Consequently, the sacrament of the Eucharist is performed not at the time of the communion itself, but before this. In the same way, we consider that teaching extremely false and impure, as if through imperfect faith, the integrity and perfection of the sacrament is violated. For heretics who are received by the Church, when they renounce their heresy and join the universal Church, received perfect baptism, although they had imperfect faith. And when they finally acquire perfect faith, they are not rebaptized.
We believe that Holy Baptism, commanded by the Lord and performed in the name of the Holy Trinity, is necessary. For without it no one can be saved, as the Lord says: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” ( John 3:5 ). Therefore, infants also need it, for they, too, are subject to original sin, and without baptism they cannot receive remission of this sin. And the Lord, showing this, said without any exception, simply: “Whoever is not born…” [John 3:5] that is, after the coming of the Savior Christ, all those who have to enter the Kingdom of Heaven must be reborn. If infants need to be saved, then they also need to be baptized. And those who have not been reborn and therefore have not received remission in the sin of their parents are necessarily subject to eternal punishment for this sin and therefore are not saved. So babies need need baptism. Moreover, babies are saved, as the Evangelist Matthew says, but the one who is not baptized is not saved. Therefore, infants need to be baptized. And in the Acts it is said that all households were baptized ( Acts 16:33 ), consequently, even babies. The ancient Fathers of the Church clearly testify to this, namely: Dionysius in the book on the Church Hierarchy and Justin in the 57th question says: “Infants are rewarded with blessings bestowed through baptism according to the faith of those who bring them to baptism.” Augustine also testifies: “There is an Apostolic tradition that infants are saved by baptism.” And elsewhere: “The Church gives babies the legs of others to walk, hearts to believe, tongues to confess.” – And again: “The Mother Church gives them a mother’s heart.” – As for the substance of the sacrament of baptism, it cannot be any other liquid than pure water. It is performed by the Priest; out of need, it can be done by a simple person, but only by an Orthodox person and, moreover, understanding the importance of Divine baptism. The operations of baptism, in brief, are as follows: first, remission is granted through it including the sin of the ancestor and in all other sins committed by the person being baptized. Secondly, the baptized person is freed from the eternal punishment to which everyone is subject both for inborn sin and for their own mortal sins. Thirdly, baptism bestows blessed immortality, for by freeing people from former sins, it makes them temples of God. It cannot be said that baptism does not remove all former sins, but that although they remain, they no longer have power. To teach in this way is extreme wickedness, it is a refutation of the faith, and not a confession of it. On the contrary, every sin that exists or existed before baptism is blotted out and considered as if it did not exist or never existed. For all the images under which baptism is presented show its purifying power, and the sayings of the Holy Scriptures concerning baptism are given to understand that through it a complete purification is obtained; This can be seen from the very names of baptism. If it is baptism in spirit and fire, then it is clear that it delivers perfect purification; for the Spirit purifies perfectly. If it is light, then all darkness is driven away by it. If it is rebirth, then everything that is old passes by; and this old thing is nothing but sins. If the one being baptized puts off the old man, then sin is also put off. If he puts on Christ, he is actually made sinless by baptism; for God is far away from sinners, and the Apostle Paul clearly speaks of this. If they are righteous, then they are also free from sin; for life and death cannot abide in the same man. If Christ truly died, then the remission of sins through the Holy Spirit is also true.
This shows that all infants who die after baptism will undoubtedly receive salvation through the power of the death of Jesus Christ. For if they are pure from sin, both from common sin, because they are cleansed by Divine baptism, so also from their own, for, like children, they do not yet have their own will and therefore do not sin; then, without any doubt, they are saved. For it is impossible for a person who has been baptized once to be baptized correctly, even if after this he commits a thousand sins or even renounces the faith itself. Whoever wants to turn to the Lord perceives the lost sonship through the sacrament of repentance.
We believe that the all-holy sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which we have placed above as the fourth sacrament, is mysteriously commanded by the Lord on that night in which He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For, taking bread and blessing, He gave it to His disciples and Apostles, saying: “Take, eat, this is My body.” And, taking the cup, giving praise, he said: “Drink all of it: this is my blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins.”
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is present in this sacred service not symbolically, not figuratively ( τυπικός , εἰκονικός ), not by an excess of grace, as in other sacraments, not by one influx, as some Fathers spoke of baptism, and not through the penetration of bread ( κατ ´ Ἐναρτισμόν – per impanationem ), so that the Divinity of the Word enters into the bread offered for the Eucharist, essentially ( ὑποστατικός), as the followers of Luther rather unskillfully and unworthily explain; but truly and truly, so that after the consecration of bread and wine, the bread is changed, transubstantiated, transformed, transformed into the very true body of the Lord, which was born in Bethlehem from the Ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, ascended, sits at the right hand of God the Father, has to appear on the clouds of heaven; and the wine is transformed and transubstantiated into the very true blood of the Lord, which, during His suffering on the Cross, was shed for the life of the world. We also believe that after the consecration of bread and wine, it is no longer the bread and wine itself that remains, but the very body and blood of the Lord under the form and image of bread and wine.
We also believe that this most pure body and blood of the Lord is dispensed and enters the mouths and wombs of those who partake, both the pious and the wicked. Only those who are pious and worthy receive remission of sins and eternal life, while those who are ungodly and unworthy receive condemnation and eternal torment.
We also believe that the body and blood of the Lord, although they are divided and broken up, but this happens in the sacrament of communion only with types of bread and wine, in which they can be both visible and tangible, but in themselves they are completely whole and inseparable. This is why the Ecumenical Church says: “The one who is shattered is divided and divided, but not divided, always eaten and dependent in no way, but those who partake (of course, worthily) it sanctifies.”
We also believe that in every part, down to the smallest particle of the laid bread and wine, there is not some separate part of the body and blood of the Lord, but the body of Christ, always whole and in all parts one, and the Lord Jesus Christ is present in His essence, then is with soul and divinity, or perfect God and perfect man. Therefore, although at one and the same time there are many sacred rites in the universe, there are not many bodies of Christ, but one and the same Christ is truly and truly present, His one body and one blood in all the individual Churches of the faithful. And this is not because the body of the Lord, which is in heaven, descends on the altars, but because the showbread, prepared separately in all churches and, after consecration, is transformed and transubstantiated, is done the same thing with the body that is in heaven. For the Lord always has one body, not many in many places. Therefore, according to the general opinion, this sacrament is the most wonderful, comprehended by faith alone, and not by the speculations of human wisdom, which vanity and insane sophistication regarding Divine things is rejected by this holy and above-destined sacrifice for us. We also believe that this body and blood of the Lord in the sacrament of the Eucharist should be given special honor and divine worship; for what we owe to the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the same body and blood of the Lord. We also believe that this sacrifice, both before use, immediately after consecration, and after use, stored in consecrated vessels for parting words to the dying, is the true body of the Lord, in no way different from His body, so that before use after consecration, and in itself use, and after it always remains the true body of the Lord. We also believe that the word “transubstantiation” does not explain the way in which bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of the Lord; for this cannot be comprehended by anyone but God himself, and the efforts of those who wish to comprehend this can only be the result of madness and wickedness; but it is only shown that, after consecration, bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of the Lord not figuratively, not symbolically, not by an excess of grace, not by communication or influx of the one Divinity of the Only Begotten, and not by any accidental belonging of bread and wine is changed into an accidental belonging of the body and the blood of Christ by some change or mixture, but, as said above, truly, really and essentially, bread is the very true body of the Lord, and wine is the very blood of the Lord by which bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of the Lord; for this cannot be comprehended by anyone but God himself, and the efforts of those who wish to comprehend this can only end in madness and wickedness; but it is only shown that, after consecration, bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of the Lord not figuratively, not symbolically, not by an excess of grace, not by communication or influx of the one Divinity of the Only Begotten, and not by any accidental belonging of bread and wine is changed into an accidental belonging of the body and the blood of Christ by some change or mixture, but, as said above, truly, really and essentially, bread is the very true body of the Lord, and wine is the very blood of the Lord.
We also believe that this sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is celebrated not by everyone, but only by one pious Priest who has received the Priesthood from a pious and lawful Bishop, as the Eastern Church teaches. Here is the abbreviated teaching of the Universal Church on the sacrament of the Eucharist; here is the true confession and ancient tradition, which those who wish to be saved and reject the new and filthy false wisdom of heretics should not change in any way; on the contrary, they are obliged to observe this lawful tradition intact and undamaged. For those who distort it, the Catholic Church of Christ rejects and curses.
We believe that the souls of the dead are blissful or tormented, looking at their deeds. Separated from the bodies, they immediately pass either to joy, or to sorrow and sorrow; however, they do not feel either perfect bliss or perfect torment; for perfect bliss, like perfect torment, everyone will receive after the general resurrection, when the soul is united with the body in which it lived virtuously or viciously.
The souls of people who fell into mortal sins and did not despair at death, but once again, before being separated from the real life, they repented, only they did not have time to bear any fruits of repentance (which are: prayers, tears, contritions, consolation of the poor and expression in deeds of love for God and neighbor, which the entire Catholic Church from the very beginning recognizes as God-pleasing and beneficial), the souls of such people descend into hell and suffer punishment for their sins, without losing, however, relief from them.
They receive relief through infinite goodness through the prayers of the Priests and good deeds done for the dead; and especially by the power of the bloodless Sacrifice, which, in particular, the priest brings for every Christian about his relatives, in general, the Catholic and Apostolic Church daily brings for everyone .
Some questions and answers to them
Question 1. – Should all Christians read Holy Scripture?
Answer . – We know that all Scripture is inspired by God and useful, and so necessary that without it it is completely impossible to be pious; however, not everyone is able to read it, but only those who know how to test the Scriptures, study and correctly understand them. Thus, every pious person is allowed to listen to Scripture in order to believe in the truth with his heart and confess with his mouth for salvation, but not everyone is allowed to read certain parts of Scripture, especially the Old Testament, without guidance. To allow the inexperienced to read the Holy Scriptures indiscriminately is the same as to offer infants the use of strong food.
Question 2 – Do all Christians who read understand the Scriptures?
Answer . – If all reading Christians understood the Holy Scriptures, then the Lord would not command those who wish to receive salvation to experience it. St. Paul would have been wrong to say that the gift of teaching was given to the Church by God. Nor would Peter have said that there is something incomprehensible in the Pauline epistles. [2 Pet 3:15-16] So, because it is clear that Scripture contains the height and depth of thoughts, therefore, experienced and God-enlightened people are required to test it, for true understanding, for knowing the truth, in accordance with all Scripture and its Creator, the Holy Spirit. And although the regenerate know the teaching of faith about the Creator, about the incarnation of the Son of God, about His sufferings, resurrection and ascension to heaven, about rebirth and judgment, for which teaching many willingly endured death; but it is not necessary, or rather impossible, for all to comprehend that which the Holy Spirit reveals only to those who are perfect in wisdom and holiness.
Question 3 [or 4 in the 1672 edition]. – How should one think about holy icons and about the worship of the Saints?
Answer . – Since there are Saints, and the Catholic Church recognizes them as representatives, therefore we honor them as friends of God, praying for us before God of all. But our veneration of the Saints is of two kinds: one refers to the Mother of God the Word, whom we honor more than the servant of God, because although the Mother of God is truly a servant of the One God, she is also the Mother, who gave birth carnally to the One from the Trinity. Therefore, we magnify Her as the highest, without comparing all the Angels and Saints, and we render worship [i.e. veneration] greater than what is fitting for the servant of God. Another kind of worship [i.e. veneration], befitting the servants of God, refers to the Holy Angels, Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, and in general to all Saints. In addition, we honor with worship [i.e. veneration] the tree of the honest and life-giving Cross, on which our Savior suffered for the salvation of the world, the image of the life-giving Cross, the Bethlehem manger, through which we are delivered from dumbness, the Golgotha place, the life-giving Tomb and other holy places, also the Holy Gospel, sacred vessels, in which the bloodless Sacrifice is performed, we honor and glorify the Saints with annual remembrances of them, national festivals, the construction of holy Temples and offerings. We also worship [i.e. venerate] the icons of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Theotokos and all the Saints; we honor these icons and kiss, as well as the images of the Holy Angels, as they appeared to some Patriarchs and Prophets; we also depict the Holy Spirit as He appeared in the form of a dove.
If, however, some reproach us with idolatry for worshiping [i.e. venerating] holy icons, then we consider such a reproach empty and absurd; for we serve no one else, but only the one God in the Trinity. We honor saints in two ways. First, in relation to God, for for His sake we bless the Saints; secondly, in relation to the Saints themselves, inasmuch as they are living images of God. Moreover, honoring the Saints, as servants of God, we honor the holy icons relatively. The honoring of icons refers to the prototypes; for whoever worships [i.e. venerates] the icon worships the archetype through the icon; so that in no way can one separate the honoring of the icon from the honoring of what is depicted on it; but both remain in unity, just as the honor given to the royal messenger is inseparable from the honor given to the King himself.
Those passages taken by the opponents from Scripture, to confirm their absurdity, do not favor them as much as they think. On the contrary, they are in complete agreement with our opinion. For as we read Divine Scripture, we experience time, face, examples, and causes. Therefore, if we find that the same God in one place says: “Do not make for yourself an idol, nor likeness, but do not bow down, serve them lower,” and in another command to make Cherubim; and if, moreover, we see images of oxen and lions made in the temple, we do not accept all this superstitiously (for superstition is not faith); but, as they said, considering the time and other circumstances, we arrive at a correct understanding. The words “Do not make for yourself an idol or likeness”, according to our understanding, means the same thing as these words: do not worship alien gods, do not worship idols. In this way, and the custom, maintained by the Church from the time of the apostles, to worship holy icons, and the service due to God alone, will remain inviolable, and God will not contradict His words. And that our opponents refer to the Holy Fathers, who allegedly say that it is indecent to worship icons, then these holy men defend us more; inasmuch as in their competitions they rise up against those who render divine veneration to holy icons, or bring images of the relatives of their dead into churches; they strike such worshipers with an anathema, but they do not condemn the correct worship of Saints and holy icons, the true Cross and all of the above. And that since the Apostolic times holy icons have been used in churches, and believers worshiped them, very many people [i.e. the Patristics] talk about this, together with the Holy Ecumenical Seventh Council, putting to shame all heretical blasphemy.
Inasmuch as this Council makes it clear in the clearest way to understand how holy icons should be worshipped [i.e. venerated] when it condemns and excommunicates those who render divine veneration [i.e. worship] to icons or call Orthodox worshipers of icons idolaters, then together with it we anathematize those who either the Holy One or an angel, or an icon, or a Cross, or the relics of saints, or sacred vessels, or the Gospel, or anything else, a fir tree in heaven, a mountain and a fir tree on earth and in the sea, are given such an honor as befits the one God in the Trinity. We equally anathematize those who call the worship of icons idolatry, and therefore do not worship them, do not honor [as God] the Cross and the Saints, as the Church commanded.
We venerate the sacred and holy icons as we have said, and draw them to decorate temples, so that they serve for the unlearned the function of books and encourage them to imitate the virtues of the Saints and remember them, to increase love, to wakefulness and always invoking the Lord as Lord and Father, and the Saints, as His servants, our helpers and mediators.
But heretics condemn the very prayer of the pious to God, and we do not understand why they primarily condemn the prayer of the monks. On the contrary, we are sure that prayer is an communication with God, a request for decent blessings from God, from Whom we hope to receive them; it is an ascent to God, a pious disposition directed towards God; mental search for the heavenly; healing of the soul of a saint, pleasing service to God, a sign of repentance and firm hope. It happens either in one mind, or both in the mind and on the lips. During prayer, we contemplate the goodness and mercy of God, we feel our unworthiness, we are filled with a feeling of thanksgiving, we make a vow to continue to submit to God. Prayer strengthens faith and hope, teaches patience, keeping the commandments, and especially asking for heavenly blessings; it brings forth many fruits, the enumeration of which would be superfluous; takes place at any time or in a straight body position, or kneeling. So great is the use of prayer that it is the food and life of the soul. All of the above is based onHoly Scripture , and the one who demands proof of this is like a madman or a blind man who, during a clear noon, doubts the light of the sun.
However, the heretics, wishing to refute everything that Christ commanded, also touched on prayer. However, being ashamed to show their wickedness so clearly, they do not reject prayer at all; but on the other hand, they rebel against the prayers of the monastics, and do this with the aim of inciting hatred towards the monks in the simple-minded, presenting them as unbearable people, even objectionable and innovators, so that no one wants to learn from them the dogmas of the pious and Orthodox Faith. For the adversary is cunning in evil and skillful in deeds of vanity; therefore, his followers (what these heretics really are) have no desire to engage in pious deeds as zealously as they zealously strive for the abyss of evils and fall into such places that the Lord does not look upon.
After this, the heretics should be asked what they will say about the prayers of the monks? If heretics prove that monks are something inconsistent with Orthodox Christian piety, then we will agree with them, and we will not only not call monks monks, but even Christians. If the monks, with complete forgetfulness of themselves, proclaim the glory and miracles of God, unceasingly and at any time, as much as possible, glorify the greatness of God in songs and doxologies, singing the words of Scripture or composing their own, in agreement with Scripture, then the monks, in our opinion, perform the work of the Apostles, the Prophetic, or, better, the work of God.
Why do we also, when we sing consolatory songs from the Triodion and the Menaion, do not do anything that would be indecent for Christians; because all these books contain sound and true theology and consist of songs, or selected from the Holy Scriptures, or composed under the inspiration of the Spirit, so that in our hymns only the words are different from those in Scripture, and in fact we sing the same as in Scripture, only in different words. To make sure that our hymns are composed of the words of Scripture, we place a verse of Scripture in each so-called troparion. If, however, we still later read the prayers composed by the ancient Fathers, then let the heretics tell us that they have noticed blasphemous and impious things in these Fathers. If so, together with the heretics, we will rise up against them. But if the heretics also point to constant and unceasing prayer, then what harm comes from such prayer for them and for us? Let them oppose (as indeed they oppose) Christ, who told the parable of the unjust judge precisely in order to convince us of the need for unceasing prayer, He who taught to watch and pray, in order to avoid adversity and stand before the Son of man; let them oppose the words of the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to Thessalonians (ch. 5) and many other passages of Scripture. We do not consider it necessary to turn to the testimonies of other Divine teachers of the Catholic Church, which have only been from the time of Christ to us; for, to the disgrace of heretics, it is enough to point to the intense prayer of the Patriarchs, Apostles and Prophets.
So, if the monks imitate the Apostles, Prophets, Holy Fathers and Forefathers of Christ Himself, then it is obvious that monastic prayers are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. As for the heretics, who invent blasphemy against God and reinterpret everything Divine, distort and insult the Holy Scriptures, their inventions are the tricks and inventions of the devil. The objection that it is impossible to order the Church to abstain from food without coercion and violence is also null and void. For the Church has acted very well, establishing with all diligence for the mortification of the flesh and passions prayer and fasting, of which all the Saints showed themselves to be guardians and models, and through which our adversary the devil, with the help of higher grace, is vanquished with all his armies and forces, and the path set before the pious is conveniently completed. Thus, the Universal Church , delving into all this, does not force, does not force, but calls, exhorts, teaches what is in Scripture, and convinces by the power of the Spirit.
In Constantinople, 1723 from the Nativity of Christ, the month of September.
Jeremiah, by the grace of God Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, signed with my own hand, and I testify and confess that this is the Orthodox Faith of our Christ, Apostolic, Catholic and Eastern Church.
Athanasius, by the grace of God, Patriarch of the great city of God of Antioch, signed with his own hand, and I testify, and affirm and confess, that this is the Orthodox Faith of our Christ, Apostolic, Catholic and Eastern Church.
Chrysanthos, by the grace of God, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, signed with my own hand, and I testify and confess that this is the Orthodox Faith of our Christ, Apostolic, Catholic and Eastern Church.
Kallinikos of Heraclius, signed with his own hand, in agreement with the above-mentioned Holy Patriarchs in heart and mouth, which I will confess until my last breath.
Anthony of Cyziky, I confess that this is the Catholic Faith of the Eastern Church.
Paisios of Nicomedia, signed with my own hand and I confess that this is the Faith of the Catholic Eastern Church.
Gerasimos of Nicaea, signed with my own hand and confess that this is the teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Church.
Pachomius of Chalcedon, signed with my own hand and I confess and testify that this is the teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Church.
Ignatius of Thessaloniki signed with his own hand, confessing and testifying that this is the teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Church.
Anthimus of Philippopolis signed with his own hand, confessing and testifying that this is the teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Church.
Callinicus of Varna, I signed with my own hand and I confess and testify that this is the teaching of the Catholic and Eastern Church.