Anathema, in common usage, is something or someone that is detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication.The latter meaning, its ecclesiastical sense, is based on New Testament usage. In the Old Testament, anathema referred either to something (living or inanimate) that was consecrated or to something denounced as evil or accursed and set aside for sacrificial offering.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.
The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.
Anathema derives from Ancient Greek: ἀνάθεμα, anáthema, meaning "an offering" or "anything dedicated", itself derived from the verb ἀνατίθημι, anatíthēmi, meaning "to offer up". In the Old Testament, it referred to both objects consecrated to divine use and those dedicated to destruction in the Lord's name, such as enemies and their weapons during religious wars. Since weapons of the enemy were considered unholy, the meaning became "anything dedicated to evil" or "a curse".
"Anathema" was initially used in its ecclesiastical sense by St. Paul to mean the excommunication of a heretic or an unrepentant excommunicated heretic. By the 6th century, the liturgical meaning evolved again to mean a formal ecclesiastical curse of excommunication and the condemnation of heretical doctrines, the severest form of separation from the Christian church issued against a heretic or group of heretics by a Pope or other church official. : anathema sit ("let him be anathema"), echoing Galatians 1:8-9, was thus used in decrees of councils defining Christian faith.The phrase Latin
In 1526, the word "anathema" appeared in modern English for the first time and was used in the sense of "something accursed". The "consecrated object" meaning was also adopted a short time later, but is no longer widely used.Its most common modern usage is in secular contexts where it is used to mean something or someone that is detested or shunned.
The Old Testament applied the word to anything set aside for sacrifice, and thus banned from profane use and dedicated to destruction—as, in the case of religious wars, the enemy and their cities and possessions. The New Testament uses the word to mean a curse and forced expulsion of someone from the Christian community.
The Greek word ἀνάθεμα (anathema), meaning something offered to a divinity, appeared in the translation of the Jewish Bible known as the Septuagint to render the Hebrew word חרם ( herem ), and appears in verses such as Leviticus 27:28 to refer to things that are offered to God and so banned for common (non-religious) use. The Hebrew word was also used for what was devoted, by virtue of a simple vow, not to the Lord, but to the priest.In postexilic Judaism, the meaning of the word changed to an expression of God's displeasure with all persons, Jew or pagan, who do not subordinate their personal conduct and tendencies to the discipline of the theocracy, and must be purged from the community—thus making anathema an instrument of synagogal discipline.
The noun ἀνάθεμα (anathema) occurs in the Greek New Testament six times.Its meaning in the New Testament is disfavour of God, a meaning that, according to Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, applies in Acts 23:14 to the sentence of disfavour, and in the other instances to the object of God's disfavour.
Since the time of the apostles, the term 'anathema' has come to mean a form of extreme religious sanction, known as excommunication. The earliest recorded instance of the form is in the Council of Elvira (c. 306), and thereafter it became the common method of cutting off heretics; for example, the Synod of Gangra (c. 340) pronounced that Manicheanism was anathema. Cyril of Alexandria issued twelve anathemas against Nestorius in 431. In the fifth century, a formal distinction between anathema and "minor" excommunication evolved, where "minor" excommunication entailed cutting off a person or group from the rite of Eucharist and attendance at worship, while anathema meant a complete separation of the subject from the Church.
The Orthodox Church distinguishes between epitemia (penances) laid on a person, one form of which is "separation from the communion of the Church" (excommunication). and anathema. While undergoing epitemia, the person remains an Orthodox Christian, even though their participation in the mystical life of the church is restricted; but those given over to anathema are considered completely torn from the Church until they repent.Epitemia, or excommunication, is normally limited to a specified period of time — though it always depends on evidence of repentance by the one serving the penance. The lifting of anathema, however, depends solely on the repentance of the one condemned. The two causes for which a person may be anathematized are heresy and schism. Anathematization is only a last resort, and must always be preceded by pastoral attempts to reason with the offender and bring about their restoration.
For the Orthodox, anathema is not final damnation. God alone is the judge of the living and the dead, and up until the moment of death repentance is always possible. The purpose of public anathema is twofold: to warn the one condemned and bring about his repentance, and to warn others away from his error. Everything is done for the purpose of the salvation of souls.
On the First Sunday of Great Lent—the "Sunday of Orthodoxy"—the church celebrates the Rite of Orthodoxy, at which anathemas are pronounced against numerous heresies. This rite commemorates the end of Iconoclasm—the last great heresy to trouble the church (all subsequent heresies—so far—merely being restatements in one form or another of previous errors)—at the Council of Constantinople in 842. The Synodicon, or decree, of the council was publicly proclaimed on this day, including an anathema against not only Iconoclasm but also of previous heresies. The Synodicon continues to be proclaimed annually, together with additional prayers and petitions in cathedrals and major monasteries throughout the Eastern Orthodox Churches. During the rite (which is also known as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy"), lections are read from Romans 16:17–20, which directs the church to "...mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine you have learned, and avoid them. For they … by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple," and Matthew 18:10–18, which recounts the parable of the Good Shepherd, and provides the procedure to follow in dealing with those who err:
"… if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he shall neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
After an ektenia (litany), during which petitions are offered that God will have mercy on those who err and bring them back to the truth, and that he will "make hatred, enmity, strife, vengeance, falsehood and all other abominations to cease, and cause true love to reign in our hearts…", the bishop (or abbot) says a prayer during which he beseeches God to: "look down now upon Thy Church, and behold how that, though we have joyously received the Gospel of salvation, we are but stony ground.For the thorns of vanity and the tares of the passions make it to bear but little fruit in certain places and none in others, and with the increase in iniquity, some, opposing the truth of Thy Gospel by heresy, and others by schism, do fall away from Thy dignity, and rejecting Thy grace, they subject themselves to the judgment of Thy most holy word. O most merciful and almighty Lord … be merciful unto us; strengthen us in the right Faith by Thy power, and with Thy divine light illumine the eyes of those in error, that they may come to know Thy truth. Soften the hardness of their hearts and open their ears, that they may hear Thy voice and turn to Thee, our Saviour. O Lord, set aside their division and correct their life, which doth not accord with Christian piety. … Endue the pastors of Thy Church with holy zeal, and so direct their care for the salvation and conversion of those in error with the spirit of the Gospel that, guided by Thee, we may all attain to that place where is the perfect faith, fulfillment of hope, and true love …." The protodeacon then proclaims the Synodicon, anathematizing various heresies and lauding those who have remained constant in the dogma and Holy Tradition of the Church.
In the dogmatic canons of all the ecumenical councils recognized by the Catholic Church, the word "anathema" signifies exclusion from the society of the faithful because of heresy.Documents of the 9th and 12th centuries distinguish anathema from excommunication, a distinction later clarified by using the term "major excommunication" for exclusion from the society of the faithful, and "minor excommunication" for ordinary excommunication or exclusion from reception of the sacraments.
Although in the canons of ecumenical councils the word "anathema" continued to be used to mean exclusion for heresy from the society of the faithful, the word was also used to signify a major excommunication inflicted with particular solemnity. Anathema in this sense was a major excommunication pronounced with the ceremonies described in the article bell, book, and candle, which were reserved for the gravest crimes.
The 1917 Roman Code of Canon Law abandoned the distinction between major and minor excommunication (which continues in use among the Eastern Catholic Churches)and abolished all penalties of whatever kind envisaged in previous canonical legislation but not included in the Code. It defined excommunication as exclusion from the communion of the faithful and said that excommunication "is also called anathema, especially if inflicted with the solemnities described in the Pontificale Romanum ."
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, which is now in force, does not contain the word "anathema",and the Pontificale Romanum, as revised after the Second Vatican Council, no longer mentions any particular solemnities associated with the infliction of excommunication.
Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha is a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, Protestants consider them apocryphal. Thus, Protestant bibles do not include the books within the Old Testament but have often included them in a separate section, usually called the Apocrypha. Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means "false attribution".
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The term Catholic was first used in the early 2nd century emphasize universal scope. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.
Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular receiving of the sacraments. The term is often historically used to refer specifically to excommunications from the Catholic Church, but it is also used more generally to refer to similar types of institutional religious exclusionary practices and shunning among other religious groups. For instance, many Protestant denominations, such as the Lutheran Churches, have similar practices of excusing congregants from church communities, while Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as the Churches of Christ, use the term "disfellowship" to refer to their form of excommunication. The Amish have also been known to excommunicate members that were either seen or known for breaking rules, or questioning the church.
The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull Vineam domini Sabaoth of 19 April 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning 11 November 1215. Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity to attend. It is considered by the Catholic Church to have been the twelfth ecumenical council and is sometimes called the "Great Council" or "General Council of Lateran" due to the presence of 71 patriarchs and metropolitan bishops, 412 bishops, 900 abbots and priors together with representatives of several monarchs.
Pope Honorius I was Pope from 27 October 625 to his death in 638.
Marcion of Sinope was an important figure in early Christianity. His theology rejected the deity described in the Hebrew Scriptures and in distinction affirmed the Father of Christ as the true God. The Church Fathers denounced Marcion, and he was excommunicated from the proto-orthodox Church. He published his own list of New Testament books, making him a catalyst in speeding up the process of development of the New Testament canon by forcing the early Church to respond to his claims.
A pastor is an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. A pastor also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation.
The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches, which had lasted until the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.
The primacy of Peter, also known as Petrine primacy, is the position of preeminence that is attributed to Saint Peter among the Twelve Apostles.
In Christianity, the Confession of Peter refers to an episode in the New Testament in which the Apostle Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Christ. The proclamation is described in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27–30 and Luke 9:18–20. Specifically, Peter declares, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.
The Feast of Orthodoxy is celebrated on the first Sunday of Great Lent in the liturgical calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church and of the Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches. The Feast is kept in memory of the final defeat of iconoclasm and the restoration of the icons to the churches.
Heresy in Christianity denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith as defined by one or more of the Christian churches.
The Absolution of the dead is a series of prayers for pardon and remission of sins that are a practice observed in some Christian religions over the body of a deceased believer before disposition. The practice is found in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church. Both religions use this practice to ask God not to have the deceased suffer for transgressions during life that they have repented or have been forgiven.
The canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation. The books of the canon of the New Testament were written before 120 AD.
In the Roman Catholic Church, heresy has a very specific meaning. There are four elements which constitute formal heresy; a valid Christian baptism; a profession of still being a Christian; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church regards as revealed by God; and lastly, the disbelief must be morally culpable, that is, there must be a refusal to accept what is known to be a doctrinal imperative. Therefore, to become a heretic in the strict canonical sense and be excommunicated, one must deny or question a truth that is taught as the word of God, and at the same time recognize one's obligation to believe it. If the person is believed to have acted in good faith, as one might out of ignorance, then the heresy is only material and implies neither guilt nor sin against faith.
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