Primary Source Documentation - Decrees from the Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem
Acts and Decrees of The Synod of Jerusalem
The Council of Bethlehem
Under Dontheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1672
The Orthodox Confession of The Catholic and
Apostolic Eastern Church
Edited by J. J. Overbeck, DD
Publisher Thomas Baker, London, 1899
Electronic edits by Scott Windsor, 2015
Pages 111-152 – This document contains just the decrees from the Synod of Jerusalem (Eastern Orthodox).
We believe in one God, true, almighty, and infinite, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit the Father unbegotten the Son begotten of the Father before the ages, and consubstantial with Him and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father, and consubstantial with the Father and the Son. These three Persons in one essence we call the All-holy Trinity, by all creation to be ever blessed, glorified, and adored.
We believe the Divine and Sacred Scriptures to be God-taught and, therefore, we ought to believe the same without doubting yet not otherwise than as the Catholic Church hath interpreted and delivered the same. For every foul heresy receiveth, indeed, the Divine Scriptures, but perversely interpreteth the same, using metaphors, and homonymies, and sophistries of man's wisdom, confounding what ought to be distinguished, and trifling with what ought not to be trifled with. For if [we were to receive the same] otherwise, each man holding every day different sense concerning the same, the Catholic Church would not [as she doth] by the grace of Christ continue to be the Church until this day, holding the same doctrine of faith, and always identically and steadfastly believing, but would be rent into innumerable parties, and subject to heresies neither would the Church be holy, the pillar and ground of the truth, without spot or wrinkle but would be the Church of the malignant as it is manifest that of the heretics undoubtedly is, and especially that of Calvin, who are not ashamed to learn from the Church, and then to wickedly repudiate her.
Wherefore, the witness also of the Catholic Church is, we believe, not of inferior authority to that of the Divine Scriptures. For one and the same Holy Spirit being the author of both, it is quite the same to be taught by the Scriptures and by the Catholic Church. Moreover, when any man speaketh from himself he is liable to err, and to deceive, and be deceived but the Catholic Church, as never having spoken, or speaking from herself, but from the Spirit of God who being her teacher, she is ever unfailingly rich it is impossible for her to in any wise err, or to at all deceive, or be deceived but like the Divine Scriptures, is infallible, and hath perpetual authority.
We believe the most good God to have from eternity predestinated unto glory those whom He hath chosen, and to have consigned unto condemnation those whom He hath rejected but not so that He would justify the one, and consign and condemn the other without cause.
For that were contrary to the nature of God, who is the common Father of all, and no respecter of persons, and would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; but since He foreknew the one would make right use of their free-will, and the other wrong, He predestinated the one, or condemned the other. And we understand the use of free-will thus, that the Divine and illuminating grace, and which we call preventing grace, being, as light to those in dark ness, by the Divine goodness imparted to all, to those that are willing to obey this for it is of use only to the willing, not to the unwilling and co-operate with it, in what it requireth as necessary to salvation, there is consequently granted particular grace which, co-operating with us, and enabling us, and making us perseverant in the love of God, that is to say, in performing those good things that God would have us to do, and which His preventing grace admonisheth us that we should do, justifieth us, and maketh us predestinated. But those who will not obey, and co-operate with grace and, therefore, will not observe those things that God would have us perform, and that abuse in the service of Satan the free-will, which they have received of God to perform voluntarily what is good, are consigned to eternal condemnation.
But to say, as the most wicked heretics do and as is contained in the Chapter answering hereto that God, in predestinating, or condemning, had in no wise regard to the works of those predestinated, or condemned, we know to be profane and impious. For thus Scripture would be opposed to itself, since it promiseth the believer salvation through works, yet supposeth God to be its sole author, by His sole illuminating grace, which He bestoweth without preceding works, to shew to man the truth of divine things, and to teach him how he may co-operate therewith, if he will, and do what is good and acceptable, and so obtain salvation. He taketh not away the power to will to will to obey, or not obey him.
But than to affirm that the Divine Will is thus solely and without cause the author of their condemnation, what greater calumny can be fixed upon God and what greater injury and blasphemy can be offered to the Most High For that the Deity is not tempted with evils, and that He equally willeth the salvation of all, since there is no respect of persons with Him, we do know and that for those who through their own wicked choice, and their impenitent heart, have become vessels of dishonour, there is, as is just, decreed condemnation, we do confess. But of eternal punishment, of cruelty, of pitilessness, and of inhumanity, we never, never say God is the author, who tells us that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. Far be it from us, while we have our senses, thus to believe, or to think and we do subject to an eternal anathema those who say and think such things, and esteem them to be worse than any infidels.
We believe the tri-personal God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to be the maker of all things visible and invisible and the invisible are the angelic Powers, rational souls, and demons, though God made not the demons what they afterwards became by their own choice, but the visible are heaven and what is under heaven. And because the Maker is good by nature, He made all things very good whatsoever He hath made, nor can He ever be the maker of evil.+ But if there be aught evil, that is to say, sin, come about contrarily to the Divine Will, in man or in demon, for that evil is simply in nature, we do not acknowledge, it is either of man, or of the devil. For it is true and infallible rule, that God is in no wise the author of evil, nor can it at all by just reasoning be attributed to God.
We believe all things that are, whether visible or invisible, to be governed by the providence of God but although God foreknoweth evils, and permitteth them, yet in that they are evils, He is neither their contriver nor their author. But when such are come about, they may be over-ruled by the Supreme Goodness for something beneficial, not indeed as being their author, but as engrafting thereon something for the better. And we ought to adore, but not curiously pry into, Divine Providence in its ineffable and only partially revealed judgments. Albeit what is revealed to us in Divine Scripture concerning it as being conducive to eternal life, we ought honestly to search out, and then nhesitatingly to interpret the same agreeably to primary notions of God.
We believe the first man created by God to have fallen in Paradise, when, disregarding the Divine commandment, he yielded to the deceitful counsel of the serpent. And hence hereditary sin flowed to his posterity so that none is born after the flesh who beareth not this burden, and experienceth not the fruits thereof in this present world. But by these fruits and this burden we do not understand [actual] sin, such as impiety, blasphemy, murder, sodomy, adultery, fornication, enmity, and whatsoever else is by our depraved choice committed contrarily to the Divine Will, not from nature for many both of the Forefathers and of the Prophets, and vast numbers of others, as well of those under the shadow [of the Law], as under the truth [of the Gospel], such as the divine Precursor, and especially the Mother of God the Word, the ever-virgin Mary, experienced not these, or such like faults but only what the Divine Justice inflicted upon man as punishment for the [original] transgression, such as sweats in labour, afflictions, bodily sicknesses, pains in child-bearing, and, in fine, while on our pilgrimage, to live laborious life, and lastly, bodily death.
We believe the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to have emptied Himself, that is, to have taken into His own Person human flesh, being conceived of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the ever-virgin Mary and, becoming man, to have been born, without causing any pain or labour to His own Mother after the flesh, or injury to her virginity, to have suffered, to have been buried, to have risen again in glory on the third day, according to the Scriptures, to have ascended into the heavens, and to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. Whom also we look for to judge the living and the dead.Decree VIII
We believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be the only mediator, and that in giving Himself ransom for all He hath through His own Blood made reconciliation between God and man, and that Himself having caret for His own is advocate and propitiation for our sins.
Albeit, in prayers and supplications unto Him, we say the Saints are intercessors, and, above all, the undefiled Mother of the very God the Word; the holy Angels too whom we know to be set over us the Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, Pure Ones, and all whom He hath glorified as having served Him faithfully. With whom we reckon also the Bishops and Priests, as standing about the Altar of God, and righteous men eminent for virtue. For that we should pray one for another, and that the prayer of the righteous availeth much, and that God heareth the Saints rather than those who are steeped in sins, we learn from the Sacred Oracles. And not only are the Saints while on their pilgrimage regarded as mediators and intercessors for us with God, but especially after their death, when all reflective vision being done away, they behold clearly the Holy Trinity in whose infinite light they know what concerneth us. For as we doubt not but that the Prophets while they were in body with the perceptions of the senses knew what was done in heaven, and thereby foretold what was future so also that the Angels, and the Saints become as Angels, know in the infinite light of God what concerneth us, we doubt not, but rather unhesitatingly believe and confess.
We believe no one to be saved without faith. And by faith we mean the right notion that is in us concerning God and divine things, which, working by love, that is to say, by [observing] the Divine commandments, justifieth us with Christ and without this [faith] it is impossible to please God.
We believe that what is called, or rather is, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and in which we have been taught to believe, containeth generally all the Faithful in Christ, who, that is to say, being still on their pilgrim age, have not yet reached their home in the Fatherland. But we do not in any wise confound this Church which is on its pilgrimage with that which is in the Fatherland, because it may be, as some of the heretics say, that the members of the two are sheep of God, the Chief Shepherd, and hallowed by the same Holy Spirit for that is absurd and impossible, since the one is yet militant, and on its journey and the other is triumphant, and settled in the Fatherland, and hath received the prize. Of which Catholic Church, since a mortal man cannot universally and perpetually be head, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is head, and Himself holding the rudder is at the helm in the governing of the Church, through the Holy Fathers. And, therefore, over particular Churches, that are real Churches, and consist of real members [of the Catholic Church], the Holy Spirit hath appointed Bishops as leaders and shepherds, who being not at all by abuse, but properly, authorities and heads, look unto the Author and Finisher of our Salvation, and refer to Him what they do in their capacity of heads forsooth.
But forasmuch as among their other impieties, the Calvinists have fancied this also, that the simple Priest and the High Priest are perhaps the same and that there is no necessity for High Priests, and that the Church may be governed by some Priests; and that not High Priest [only], but a Priest also is able to ordain Priest, and a number of Priests to ordain High Priest and affirm in lofty language that the Eastern Church assenteth to this wicked notion for which purpose the Tenth Chapter was written by Cyril we explicitly declare according to the mind which hath obtained from the beginning in the Eastern Church That the dignity of the Bishop is so necessary in the Church, that without him, neither Church nor Christian could either be or be spoken of. For he, as successor of the Apostles, having received in continued succession by the imposition of hands and the invocation of the All-holy Spirit the grace that is given him of the Lord of bind ing and loosing, is living image of God upon the earth, and by most ample participation of the operation of the Holy Spirit, who is the chief functionary, is fountain of all the Mysteries [Sacraments] of the Catholic Church, through which we obtain salvation. And he is, we suppose, as necessary to the Church as breath is to man, or the sun to the world. Whence it hath also been elegantly said by some in commendation of the dignity of the High Priesthood, 'What God is in the heavenly Church of the first-born, and the sun in the world, that every High Priest is in his own particular Church, as through him the flock is enlightened, and nourished, and becometh the temple of God.' And that this great mystery and dignity of the Episcopate hath descended unto us by continued succession is manifest. For since the Lord hath promised to be with us always, although He be with us by other means of grace and Divine operations, yet in a more eminent manner doth He, through the Bishop as chief functionary, make us His own and dwell with us, and through the divine Mysteries is united with us of which the Bishop is the first minister, and chief functionary, through the Holy Spirit, and suffereth us not to fall into heresy. And, therefore [John] the Damascen, in his Fourth Epistle to the Africans, hath said, the Catholic Church is everywhere committed to the care of the Bishops and that Clement, the first Bishop of the Romans, and Evodius at Antioch, and Mark at Alexandria, were successors of Peter is acknowledged. Also that the divine Andrew seated Stachys on the Throne of Constantinople, in his own stead and that in this great holy city of Jerusalem our Lord Himself appointed James, and that after James another succeeded, and then another, until our own times. And, therefore, Tertullian in his Epistle to Papianus called all Bishops the Apostles' successors. To their succession to the Apostles' dignity and authority Eusebius, the [friend] of Pamphilus, testifieth, and all the Fathers testify, of whom it is needless to give list and this the common and most ancient custom of the Catholic Church confirmeth.
And that the dignity of the Episcopate differeth from that of the simple Priest, is manifest. For the Priest is ordained by the Bishop, but a Bishop is not ordained by a Priest, but by two or three High Priests, as the Apostolic Canon directeth. And the Priest is chosen by the Bishop, but the High Priest is not chosen by the Priests or Presbyters, nor is he chosen by secular Princes, but by the Synod of the Primatial Church of that country, in which is situated the city that is to receive the ordinand, or at least by the Synod of the Province in which he is to become a Bishop. Or, if ever the city choose him, it doth not this absolutely; but the election is referred to the Synod; and if it appear that he hath obtained this agreeably to the Canons, the Elect is advanced by ordination by the Bishops, with the invocation of the All-holy Spirit; but if not, he is advanced whom the Synod chooseth. And the Priest, indeed, retaineth to himself the authority and grace of the Priesthood, which he hath received; but the Bishop imparteth it to others also. And the one having received the dignity of the Priesthood from the Bishop, can only perform Holy Baptism, and Prayer-oil, minister sacrificially the unbloody Sacrifice, and impart to the people the All-holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, anoint the baptised with the Holy Myron [Chrism], crown the Faithful legally marrying, pray for the sick, and that all men may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and especially for the remission and forgiveness of the sins of the Faithful, living and dead. And if he be eminent for experience and virtue, receiving his authority from the Bishop, he directeth those Faithful that come unto him, and guideth them into the way of possessing the heavenly kingdom, and is appointed a preacher of the sacred Gospel. But the High Priest is also the minister of all these, since he is in fact, as hath been said before, the fountain of the Divine Mysteries and graces, through the Holy Spirit, and he alone consecrateth the Holy Myron. And the ordinations of all orders and degrees in the Church are proper to him; and in a primary and highest sense he bindeth and looseth, and his sentence is approved by God, as the Lord hath promised. (Matt 16:19) And he preacheth the Sacred Gospel, and contendeth for the Orthodox faith, and those that refuse to hear he casteth out of the Church as heathens and publicans. (Matt 18:17) and he putteth heretics under excommunication and anathema, and layeth down his own life for the sheep. (John 10:11) From which it is manifest, that without contradiction the Bishop differeth from the simple Priest, and that without him all the Priests in the world could not exercise the pastorate in the Church of God, or govern it at all. But it is well said by one of the Fathers, that it is not easy to find a heretic that hath understanding. For when these forsake the Church, they are forsaken by the Holy Spirit, and there remaineth in them neither understanding nor light, but only darkness and blindness. For if such had not happened to them, they would not have opposed things that are most plain among which is the truly great mystery of Episcopacy, which is taught by Scripture, written of, and witnessed to, both by all Ecclesiastical history and the writings of holy men, and always held and acknowledged by the Catholic Church.
We believe to be members of the Catholic Church all the Faithful, and only the Faithful who, forsooth, having received the blameless Faith of the Saviour Christ, from Christ Himself, and the Apostles, and the Holy (Ecumenical Synods, adhere to the same without wavering although some of them may be guilty of all manner of sins. For unless the Faithful, even when living in sin, were members of the Church, they could not be judged by the Church. But now being judged by her, and called to repentance, and guided into the way of her salutary precepts, though they may be still defiled with sins, for this only, that they have not fallen into despair, and that they cleave to the Catholic and Orthodox faith, they are, and are regarded as, members of the Catholic Church.
We believe the Catholic Church to be taught by the Holy Spirit. For he is the true Paraclete whom Christ sendeth from the Father (John 15:26), to teach the truth John 16:13), and to drive away darkness from the minds of the Faithful. The teaching of the Holy Spirit, however, doth not immediately, but through the holy Fathers and Leaders of the Catholic Church, illuminate the Church. For as all Scripture is, and is called, the word of the Holy Spirit not that it was spoken immediately by Him, but that it was spoken by Him through the Apostles and Prophets so also the Church is taught indeed by the Life-giving Spirit, but through the medium of the holy Fathers and Doctors (whose rule is acknowledged to be the Holy and Ecumenical Synods for we shall not cease to say this ten thousand times) and, therefore, not only are we persuaded, but do profess as true and undoubtedly certain, that it is impossible for the Catholic Church to err, or at all be deceived, or ever to choose falsehood instead of truth. For the All-holy Spirit continually operating through the holy Fathers and Leaders faithfully ministering, delivereth the Church from error of every kind.
We believe man to be not simply justified through faith alone, but through faith which worketh through love, that is to say, through faith and works. But [the notion] that faith fulfilling the function of hand layeth hold on the righteousness which is in Christ, and applieth it unto us for salvation, we know to be far from all Orthodoxy. For faith so understood would be possible in all, and so none could miss salvation, which is obviously false. But on the contrary, we rather believe that it is not the correlative of faith, but the faith which is in us, justifieth through works, with Christ. But we regard works not as witnesses certifying our calling, but as being fruits in themselves, through which faith becometh efficacious, and as in themselves meriting, through the Divine promises, that each of the Faithful may receive what is done through his own body, whether it be good or bad, forsooth.
We believe man in falling by the [original] transgression to have become comparable and like unto the beasts, that is, to have been utterly undone, and to have fallen from his perfection and impassibility, yet not to have lost the nature and power which he had received from the supremely good God. For otherwise he would not be rational, and consequently not man; but to have the same nature, in which he was created, and the same power of his nature, that is free-will, living and operating. So as to be by nature able to choose and do what is good, and to avoid and hate what is evil. For it is absurd to say that the nature which was created good by Him who is supremely good lacketh the power of doing good. For this would be to make that nature evil than which what could be more impious? For the power of working dependeth upon nature, and nature upon its author, although in a different manner.
And that a man is able by nature to do what is good, even our Lord Himself intimateth, saying, even the Gentiles love those that love them Matt 5:46; Luke 6:32). But this is taught most plainly by Paul also, in Romans 2:14, and elsewhere expressly, saying in so many words, The Gentiles which have no law do by nature the things of the law.' From which it is also manifest that the good which a man may do cannot forsooth be sin. For it is impossible that what is good can be evil. Albeit, being done by nature only, and tending to form the natural character of the doer, but not the spiritual, it contributeth not unto salvation thus alone without faith, nor yet indeed unto condemnation, for it is not possible that good, as such, can be the cause of evil. But in the regenerated, what is wrought by grace, and with grace, maketh the doer perfect, and rendereth him worthy of salvation.
A man, therefore, before he is regenerated, is able by nature to incline to what is good, and to choose and work moral good. But for the regenerated to do spiritual good--for the works of the believer being contributory to salvation and wrought by supernatural grace are properly called spiritual--it is necessary that he be guided and prevented by grace, as hath been said in treating of predestination; so that he is not able of himself to do any work worthy of Christian life, although he hath it in his own power to will, or not to will, to co-operate with grace.
We believe that there are in the Church Evangelical Mysteries [i.e., Sacraments of the Gospel Dispensation], and that they are seven. For a less or a greater number of the Mysteries we have not in the Church; since any number of the Mysteries other than seven is the product of heretical madness. And the seven of them were instituted in the Sacred Gospel, and are gathered from the same, like the other dogmas of the Catholic Faith.
For in the first place our Lord instituted Holy Baptism by the words, Go ye and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt 27:19); and by the words, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned (Mark 16:16).'
And that of Confirmation, that is to say, of the Holy Myron or Holy Chrism, by the words, But ye tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).' With which they were endued by the coming of the Holy Spirit, and this the Mystery of Confirmation signified; concerning which Paul also discourseth in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 1, and Dionysius the Areopagite more explicitly.
And the Priesthood by the words, "This do ye for My Memorial (Luke 22:19);" and by the words, 'Whatsoever ye shall bind and loose upon the earth shall be bound and loosed in the heavens (Matt 18:18).'
And the unbloody Sacrifice (Eucharist) by the words, "Take, eat ye; This is My Body (Matt 26:26; Mark 16:22; Luke 22:19 and 1 Cor 2:24);" and, "Drink ye all of It This is My Blood of the New Testament (Matt 26:27; Mark 16:24; Luke 22:20 and 1 Cor 2:25);" and by the words, "Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, ye have not life in yourselves (John 6:53)."
And Marriage, when, having recited the things which had been spoken thereof in the Old [Testament], He, as it were, set His seal thereto by the words, Those whom God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt 14:6)," and this the divine Apostle also calleth a great Mystery (Eph 5:32).
And Penance, with which is joined sacramental confession by the words, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained (John 20:23);" and by the words, "Except ye repent, ye shall [all] likewise perish (Luke 13:3-5)."
And lastly, the Holy Oil or Prayer-Oil is spoken of in Mark 6:13, and is expressly witnessed to by the Lord's brother (James 5:14).
And the Mysteries consist of something natural, and of something supernatural and are not bare signs of the promises of God.
For then they would not differ from circumcision than which [notion] what could be worse? And we acknowledge them to be, of necessity, efficient means of grace to the receivers. But we reject, as alien to Christian doctrine, the notion that the integrity of the Mystery requireth the use of the earthly thing [i.e., dependeth upon its reception] for this is contrary to the Mystery of the Offering [i.e., the Sacrament of the Eucharist], which being instituted by the Substantial Word, and hallowed by the invocation of the Holy Spirit, is perfected by the presence of the thing signified, to wit, of the Body and Blood of Christ. And the perfecting thereof necessarily precedeth its use. For if it were not perfect before its use, he that useth it not aright could not eat and drink judgment unto himself (1 Cor 11:26-29) since he would be partaking of mere bread and wine. But now, he that partaketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself; so that not in its use, but even before its use, the Mystery of the Eucharist hath its perfection. Moreover, we reject as something abominable and pernicious the notion that when faith is weak the integrity of the Mystery is impaired. For heretics who abjure their heresy and join the Catholic Church are received by the Church although they received their valid Baptism with weakness of faith. Wherefore, when they afterwards be come possessed of the perfect faith, they are not again baptised.
We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord said, “Whosoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens (John 3:5)." And, therefore, it is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord shewed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, Whosoever is not born [again],' which is the same as saying, All that after the coming of Christ the Savior would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be regenerated.' And forasmuch as infants are men, and as such need salvation; needing salvation, they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved so that even infants ought, of necessity, to be baptized. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew 19:12 but he that is not baptized is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptized. And in the Acts 7:12 and 15:35 it is said that the whole houses were baptized, and consequently the infants.
To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who saith expressly, "And they are vouchsafed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism." And Augustine saith that it is an Apostolical tradition, that children are saved through Baptism and in another place, 'The Church giveth to babes the feet of others, that they may come and the hearts of others, that they may believe and the tongues of others, that they may promise and in another place, Our mother, the Church, furnisheth them with a particular heart.'
Now the matter of Baptism is pure water, and no other liquid. And it is performed by the Priest only, or in a case of unavoidable necessity, by another man, provided he be Orthodox, and have the intention* proper to Divine Baptism. And the effects of Baptism are, to speak concisely, firstly, the remission of the hereditary transgression, and of any sins whatsoever which the baptized may have committed. Secondly, it delivereth him from the eternal punishment, to which he was liable, as well for original sin, as for mortal sins he may have individually committed. Thirdly, it giveth to such immortality; for in justifying them from past sins, it maketh them temples of God. And it may not be said, that any sin is not washed away through Baptism, which may have been previously committed but to remain, though not imputed. For that were indeed the height of impiety, and a denial, rather than a confession of piety.
Yea, forsooth, all sin existing, or committed before Baptism, is blotted out, and is to be regarded as never existing or committed. For the forms of Baptism, and on either hand all the words that precede and that perfect Baptism, do indicate perfect cleansing. And the same thing even the very names of Baptism do signify. For if Baptism be by the Spirit and by fire, it is manifest that it is in all a perfect cleansing for the Spirit cleanseth perfectly. If it be light, it dispelleth the darkness. If it be regeneration, old things are passed away. And what are these except sins? If the baptized putteth off the old man, hen sin also. If he putteth on Christ, then in effect he becometh free from sin through Baptism. For God is far from sinners. This Paul also teacheth more plainly, saying 'As through one [man] we, being many, were made sinners, so through one [are we made] righteous.' And if righteous, then free from sin. For it is not possible for life and death to be in the same [person]. If Christ truly died, then remission of sin through the Spirit is true also.
Hence it is evident that all who are baptized and fall asleep while babes are undoubtedly saved, being predestinated through the death of Christ. Forasmuch as they are without any sin without that common [to all], because delivered therefrom by the Divine laver, and without any of their own, because as babes they are incapable of committing sin and consequently are saved. Moreover, Baptism imparteth an indelible character, as doth also the Priesthood. For as it is impossible for any one to receive twice the same order of the Priesthood, so it is impossible for any once rightly baptised, to be again baptized, although he should fall even into myriads of sins, or even into actual apostacy from the Faith. For when he is willing to return unto the Lord, he receiveth again through the Mystery of Penance the adoption of a son, which he had lost.
We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist, which we have enumerated above, fourth in order, to be that which our Lord delivered in the night wherein He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For taking bread, and blessing, He gave to His Holy Disciples and Apostles, saying Take, eat ye This is My Body.'* And taking the chalice, and giving thanks, He said Drink ye all of It This is My Blood, which for you is being poured out, for the remission of sins.' In the celebration whereof we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose, but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world (John 6:51).
Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remaineth the substance§ of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine that is to say, under the accidents of the bread.
Further, that the all-pure Body Itself, and Blood of the Lord is imparted, and entereth into the mouths and stomachs of the communicants, whether pious or impious. Nevertheless, they convey to the pious and worthy remission of sins and life eternal; but to the impious and unworthy involve condemnation and eternal punishment.
Further, that the Body and Blood of the Lord are severed and divided by the hands and teeth, though in accident only, that is, in the accidents of the bread and of the wine, under which they are visible and tangible, we do acknowledge but in themselves to remain entirely unsevered and undivided. Wherefore the Catholic Church also saith: "Broken and distributed is He That is broken, yet not severed Which is ever eaten, yet never consumed, but sanctifying those that partake," that is worthily.
Further, that in every part, or the smallest division of the transmuted bread and wine there is not part of the Body and Blood of the Lord - for to say so were blasphemous and wicked - but the entire whole Lord Christ substantially, that is, with His Soul and Divinity, or perfect God and perfect man. So that though there may be many celebrations in the world at one and the same hour, there are not many Christs, or Bodies of Christ, but it is one and the same Christ that is truly and really present and His one Body and His Blood is in all the several Churches of the Faithful and this not because the Body of the Lord that is in the Heavens descendeth upon the Altars; but because the bread of the Prothesis set forth in all the several Churches, being changed and transubstantiated, becometh, and is, after consecration, one and the same with That in the Heavens. For it is one Body of the Lord in many places, and not many and therefore this Mystery is the greatest, and is spoken of as wonderful, and comprehensible by faith only, and not by the sophistries of man's wisdom whose vain and foolish curiosity in divine things our pious and God-delivered religion rejecteth.
Further, that the Body Itself of the Lord and the Blood That are in the Mystery of the Eucharist ought to be honoured in the highest manner, and adored with latria. For one is the adoration of the Holy Trinity, and of the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Further, that it is true and propitiatory Sacrifice offered for all Orthodox, living and dead; and for the benefit of all, as is set forth expressly in the prayers of the Mystery delivered to the Church by the Apostles, in accordance with the command they received of the Lord.
Further, that before Its use, immediately after the consecration, and after Its use, What is reserved in the Sacred Pixes for the communion of those that are about to depart [i.e. the dying] is the true Body of the Lord, and not in the least different therefrom so that before Its use after the consecration, in Its use, and after Its use, It is in all respects the true Body of the Lord.
Further, we believe that by the word transubstantiation the manner is not explained, by which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, for that is altogether incomprehensible and impossible, except by God Himself, and those who imagine to do so are involved in ignorance and impiety, - but that the bread and the wine are after the consecration, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, nor by the communication or the presence of the Divinity alone of the Onlybegotten, transmuted into the Body and Blood of the Lord; neither is any accident of the bread, or of the wine, by any conversion or alteration, changed into any accident of the Body and Blood of Christ, but truly, and really, and substantially, doth the bread become the true Body Itself of the Lord, and the wine the Blood Itself of the Lord, as is said above.
Further, that this Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist can be performed by none other, except only by an Orthodox Priest, who hath received his priesthood from an Orthodox and Canonical Bishop, in accordance with the teaching of the Eastern Church. This is compendiously the doctrine, and true confession, and most ancient tradition of the Catholic Church concerning this Mystery which must not be departed from in any way by such as would be Orthodox, and who reject the novelties and profane vanities of heretics; but necessarily the tradition of the institution must be kept whole and unimpaired. For those that transgress the Catholic Church of Christ rejecteth and anathematiseth.
We believe that the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought for when they are separated from their bodies, they depart immediately either to joy, or to sorrow and lamentation though confessedly neither their enjoyment, nor condemnation are complete. For after the common resurrection, when the soul shall be united with the body, with which it had behaved itself well or ill, each shall receive the completion of either enjoyment or of condemnation forsooth.
And such as though envolved in mortal sins have not departed in despair, but have, while still living in the body, repented, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance - by pouring forth tears, forsooth, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and in fine by shewing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church hath from the beginning rightly called satisfaction of these and such like the souls depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from thence, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed especially the unbloody Sacrifice availing in the highest degree which each offereth particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offereth daily for all alike it being, of course, understood that we know not the time of their release. For that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment we know and believe but when we know not.