CHRIST THE SAVIOR Orthodox Mission
SUNDAY: JUNE 9TONE 6
7TH Sunday of Pascha/ Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea/Afterfeast of the Ascension
On the seventh Sunday of Pascha, we commemorate the holy God-bearing Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.
The Commemoration of the First Ecumenical Council has been celebrated by the Church of Christ from ancient times. The Lord Jesus Christ left the Church a great promise, “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt.
16:18). Although the Church of Christ on earth will pass through difficult struggles with the Enemy of salvation, it will emerge victorious. The holy martyrs bore witness to the truth of the Savior’s words, enduring suffering and death for confessing Christ, but the persecutor’s sword is shattered by the Cross of Christ.
Persecution of Christians ceased during the fourth century, but heresies arose within the Church itself. One of the most pernicious of these heresies was Arianism. Arius, a priest of Alexandria, was a man of immense pride and ambition. In denying the divine nature of Jesus Christ and His equality with God the Father, Arius falsely taught that the Savior is not consubstantial with the Father, but is only a created being.
A local Council, convened with Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria presiding, condemned the false teachings of Arius. However, Arius would not submit to the authority of the Church. He wrote to many bishops, denouncing the decrees of the local Council. He spread his false teaching throughout the East, receiving support from certain Eastern bishops.
Investigating these dissentions, the holy emperor Constantine (May 21) consulted Bishop Hosius of Cordova (Aug. 27), who assured him that the heresy of Arius was directed against the most fundamental dogma of Christ’s Church, and so he decided to convene an Ecumenical Council. In the year 325, 318 bishops representing Christian Churches from various lands gathered together at Nicea.
Among the assembled bishops were many confessors who had suffered during the persecutions, and who bore the marks of torture upon their bodies. Also participating in the Council were several great luminaries of the Church: Saint Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia (December 6 and May 9), Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Tremithos (December 12), and others venerated by the Church as holy Fathers.
With Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria came his deacon, Athanasius [who later became Patriarch of Alexandria (May 2 and January 18)]. He is called “the Great,” for he was a zealous champion for the purity of Orthodoxy. In the Sixth Ode of the Canon for today’s Feast, he is referred to as “the thirteenth Apostle.”
The emperor Constantine presided over the sessions of the Council. In his speech, responding to the welcome by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, he said, “God has helped me cast down the impious might of the persecutors, but more distressful for me than any blood spilled in battle is for a soldier, is the internal strife in the Church of God, for it is more ruinous.”
Arius, with seventeen bishops among his supporters, remained arrogant, but his teaching was repudiated and he was excommunicated from the Church. In his speech, the holy deacon Athanasius conclusively refuted the blasphemous opinions of Arius. The heresiarch Arius is depicted in iconography sitting on Satan’s knees, or in the mouth of the Beast of the Deep (Rev. 13).
The Fathers of the Council declined to accept a Symbol of Faith (Creed) proposed by the Arians. Instead, they affirmed the Orthodox Symbol of Faith. Saint Constantine asked the Council to insert into the text of the Symbol of Faith the word “consubstantial,” which he had heard in the speeches of the bishops. The Fathers of the Council unanimously accepted this suggestion.
In the Nicean Creed, the holy Fathers set forth and confirmed the Apostolic teachings about Christ’s divine nature. The heresy of Arius was exposed and repudiated as an error of haughty reason. After resolving this chief dogmatic question, the Council also issued Twelve Canons on questions of churchly administration and discipline. Also decided was the date for the celebration of Holy Pascha. By decision of the Council, Holy Pascha should not be celebrated by Christians on the same day with the Jewish Passover, but on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox (which occured on March 22 in 325).
(at the Divine Liturgy)
Tone 6Troparion (Resurrection)
The Angelic Powers were at Thy tomb;
the guards became as dead men.
Mary stood by Thy grave,
seeking Thy most pure body.
Thou didst capture hell not being tempted by it.
Thou didst come to the Virgin, granting life.//
O Lord, Who didst rise from the dead, glory to Thee.
Tone 4 Troparion (Ascension)
Thou hast ascended in glory, O Christ our God,
granting joy to Thy Disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing they were assured,
that Thou art the Son of God,//
the Redeemer of the world!
Tone 8Troparion (Fathers)
Thou art most glorious, O Christ our God,
Who hast established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth.
Through them Thou hast guided us to the true Faith.//
O greatly compassionate One, glory to Thee!
Tone 8 Kontakion(Fathers)
The Apostles’ preaching and the Fathers’ doctrines have established one Faith for the Church.
Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology,//
It defines and glorifies the great mystery of piety.
When Thou hadst fulfilled the dispensation for our sake
and united earth to heaven,
Thou didst ascend in glory, O Christ our God,
not being parted from those who love Thee,
but remaining with them and crying://
“I am with you, and there is no one against you!”
Tone 4Prokeimenon (Song of the Three Children)
Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Thy name forever! (Song of the three Holy Children, v. 3)
v: For Thou art just in all that Thou hast done for us! (v. 4)
Acts 20:16-18, 28-36
 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Yeknow, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
Tone 1Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
v: The Lord, the God of gods, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Ps 49/50:1)
v: Gather to Me My venerable ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice! (Ps 49/50:5)
 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavestthem me; and they have kept thy word.
 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavestme; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
(Instead of “It is truly meet …,” we sing:)
Magnify, O my soul, Christ the Giver of Life, Who has ascended from earth to heaven!We magnify thee, O Mother of God, who beyond reason and understanding gave birth in time to the Timeless One.
Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! (Ps 148:1)
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; praise befits the just! (Ps 32/33:1)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
(Instead of “We have seen the True Light,” we sing the Troparion of Ascension)
Christ the Savior Orthodox Mission
Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of New England
425 South Main Street, Brewer, ME 04412
(With the blessing of our hiararchs, we meet at St. Teresa's Catholic Church.)
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