The Synod of Constantinople (1341)

Synodical Tome 

1. Truly praiseworthy is he who said that humility is the acquisition of truth; for humility is the recognition of our own limits, through which we gather peace towards God and towards our neighbour. By this peace in turn we obtain rest in the present and the future age, according to that divine saying of the Lord which is so instructive in this regard, “Learn from me because I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. Humility persuades him who has obtained it to take heed to himself and rely on God, avoiding all evil by the fear of the Lord, according to the word of the wise Solomon. It teaches him to practise reverence and moderation concerning what is beyond him, respecting the eternal boundaries of the fathers and avoiding deviations on both sides (I mean excesses and deficiencies) and to travel that royal road of moderation which leads towards the heavens and God without error or accident.

2. But the monk Barlaam embarking from Calabria, with insane self-reliance set forth onto the sea of personal opinion. Confident in his knowledge of secular philosophy, attacking the teaching of the Spirit in opposition to the supernatural true philosophy, he adopted instead the unacceptable natural philosophy, which is completely incapable of receiving the things of the Spirit. In the guise of a disciple this man once deceitfully approached some of our monks, those who have chosen the silent life, who have said farewell to everything else and attend only to God. He went on purpose not to any of the better-educated monks, but to the simpler, doubtless fearing to be detected. A little later, moreover, after leaving them, he accused them in writing of an abominable doctrine, which he claimed was advocated by them. For after he had heard them saying, as receiving it form the tradition of the holy fathers, that those who are purified in heart through God’s commandments receive divine illumination occurring mystically and ineffably within them, he accused them of asserting that it was possible to participate in the very essence of God.

3. When they replied, “Not in the essence but in the uncreated and deifying grace of the Spirit,” he presumed to lay on them the charge of ditheism. Not only so, but addressing the Church of God and reporting these matters to Our Modesty, accusing especially the most honoured among hieromonks, Lord Gregory Palamas, he sought that they should be summoned int our holy and divine synod.

4. When they were summoned, Barlaam reversed himself. He fled and did not submit to meet with the council. He would not debate with the monks whom he had accused or let them confront him in regard to what he had written against them. He presented as the excuse for his flight the emperor’s absence at that time, but in truth he was aware of his own guilt and feared examination.

5. Then when the council was assembled in the renowned temple of the Wisdom of God the Word, in the presence of the illustrious and blessed emperor from God, the senate, not a few of the most honourable archimandrites and abbots, and the representatives of the state, Barlaam himself was summoned and bidden to speak and show if he had anything to say against the monks who lived the life of stillness. While they were already present at the council, he himself, as if suffering forgetfulness of the issue but actually trying to confuse the subject, proceeded to dogmatic questions and puzzles and sought resolution of his theoretical problems. He persisted in this and insisted that he would say nothing before he obtained answer and resolution for these questions. Even when he had been rebuffed with severity once and twice, he did not yield from this insistence nor was he persuaded to speak concerning the investigation of the issue, namely, his written accusation against the monks.

6. Our Modesty ordered the sacred and divine canons to be read in the hearing of the council, through which it is forbidden and altogether prohibited not only for those like him but also for anyone else to raise any dogmatic issues, to create a necessity for others in consequence to defend themselves concerning these matters, and assuming the teaching authority to hold forth on any ecclesiastical subjects; for this is granted  only to bishops by the grace from above. For the sixty-fourth canon of the sixth ecumenical council says, “It is not right for a layman to speak in public or to teach, assuming the teaching authority, but he must submit to the authority appointed by the Lord, open his ears to those who have received the grace of instructive discourse, and learn divine matters from them. For in the one Church God has made different members, according to the saying of the apostle, which Gregory the Theologian interprets, clearly establishing the proper order in these matters: ‘Let us respect this order, brethren, let us keep this; let one be the hearing, another the tongue, another the hand, another some other member. Let one teach, the other learn; the learner in obedience, the leader with cheerfulness, and the worker with eagerness; let us not all be tongue, the most active member. We shall not all be apostles, we shall not all be prophets. We shall not all interpret.’ And a little later: ‘Why do you make yourself a shepherd, when you are a sheep? Why do you become a head, when you are a foot? Why do you try to be a general, when you are enrolled among the soldiers?” And elsewhere Wisdom exhorts: ‘Do not be swift in words, do not compete as a poor man with the rich, do not seek to be wiser than the wise.’ But if anyone is found weakening the present canon, let him be excommunicated for forty days.” And again the nineteenth canon of the Council of Chalcedon: “Every day, especially on the Lord’s Day, those who preside in the Church must teach all the clergy and the people with pious discourses, gathering from the Divine Scripture the ideas and expressions of the truth, and not transgressing the boundaries already set or the tradition of the inspired fathers. But if a controversy regarding Scripture should be stirred up, let them not interpret this otherwise than as the illuminators and teachers of the Church have set down in their own writings. Let them find approval with these rather than compose their own discourses, lest sometimes through lack of skill they may depart from what is proper. For through the teaching of the aforementioned fathers the people will come to know what should be desired and chosen and what should be rejected as disadvantageous, and will redirect their lives for the better. They will not remain in a condition of ignorance, but by attending to instruction they will motivate themselves to avoid evil and to work out their salvation in fear of the impending punishments.”

7. After the reading of the same sacred and divine canons, there were brought into the midst the reports which Barlaam earlier had made against the monks. And when these reports had been read, the distinguished priest-monk Lord Gregory Palamas was entrusted with making the defence in regard to them, since they especially concerned him. As a prologue to his speech he made such defence as was fitting, then narrated how their conflict developed: first the same Barlaam made written accusations against the stated above), setting out propositions opposed (as has been shown) to the divine words of the fathers; and then he himself was impelled by necessity to defence and rebuttal.

8. Then the decision was made to bring in the writings of Barlaam which he misleadingly entitled “Against the Messalians”, In these writings, concerning the unapproachable light of the transfiguration of the Lord our Saviour Jesus Christ and concerning his preeminent disciples and apostles who were found worthy to behold this light, he said in these exact words: “That which shone on Tabor was not the unapproachable light of Godhead, nor in truth did there exist a light of Godhead nor any light more sacred or more divine than the angels, but it was a light even inferior to and lower than our own intellectual activity. For all the concepts and objects of thought are nobler than that light, because it comes to the sight through the atmosphere and is subject to the power of sensory perception, and shows only perceptible things to those who see it. It is material and has shape; it appears in a place and a time, and colours the air. At one time it holds together and appears; then it dissolves and yields to nonexistence, because it acts on the imagination, is divisible, and has boundaries. Therefore also it was seen by those who suffered deprivation of their intellectual energies, or rather had not yet fully acquired them and were not yet purified, but were imperfectly prepared even for that very sight on the mountain, since they had not yet been granted the godlike intellectual power. We are led upward from this kind of light to objects of intellectual contemplation, which are incomparably superior to that light. Therefore those who say that it is ‘beyond thought’ and ‘true’ and ‘unapproachable’ and the like are absolutely in error. They have seen nothing more sublime than perceptible beauty, and because of this they introduce impious and deadly teachings into the Church.” Barlaam wrote these words, clearly heterodox and opposed to what the saints have said about that divine light.

9. Insisting that they were believing and speaking in conformity with the saints’ teachings, the monks cited the passages which follow. The divine John of Damascus says, “Today the abyss of unapproachable light, today the infinite outpouring of divine brilliance shines on the apostles on Mount Tabor. Now appears what is invisible to human eyes, an earthly body radiates divine luminance, a mortal body pours out the glory of divinity. For the Word became flesh, and the flesh became Word, although each did not depart form its own nature – what a marvel! Not from outside did the glory come upon the body, but from inside, from the supremely divine Godhead ineffably united to it in the hypostasis of God the Word.

10. “The angels cannot rest their eye on him without bending, yet the foremost of the apostles see him shining forth with the glory of his own kingdom.

11. “Therefore he takes the leaders of the apostles as witnesses of his own glory and divinity, and he reveals to them his own divinity. Surely those men are perfect who behold the divine glory, which is beyond all things, which alone is beyond perfection and more than perfect.

12. “The truly divine mastery, Dionysius, who speaks of God, says this: ‘He will be seen by his perfect servants, as on Mount Tabor he appears to the apostles. He takes John with him, as the pure virgin mouthpiece of theology, so that after beholding the timeless glory of the Son, he may proclaim in a voice of thunder, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.’

13. “Silence is the mother of prayer, and prayer is the revelation of divine glory. For when we close our senses and stay with ourselves and God, and freed from the outer distraction of the world stay inside ourselves, then within ourselves we will clearly see the kingdom of God. The kingdom of the heavens, which is the kingdom of God, is within us, Jesus our God announced.

14. “In the presence of the disciples he is transfigured who is always thus glorified and shines with the lightning of divinity.

15. “Begotten from the Father without beginning, he has obtained the natural unoriginate radiance of Godhead, and the glory of the Godhead becomes also the glory of his body.

16. “But his glory, not appearing in his visible body, was called invisible for those bound by the bonds of flesh, for those who cannot receive what even angels cannot contemplate. He is transfigured, however, not taking on what he was not, nor being changed into what he was not, but revealing to his own disciples what he was, opening their eyes and making them sighted instead of blind. This is what is meant by ‘He was transfigured before them’. For although he remained identically the same, his disciples saw him appearing differently from how he appeared before. And it says he shone like the sun, not because he did not shine brighter than the sun (for it is impossible to represent the uncreated perfectly in the creation), but because he shone as brightly as those who saw were able to behold.

17. “No one has seen God at any time, as he is by nature; whatever anyone has seen, he has beheld in the Spirit. This is the change of the right hand of the Most High; this is what eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has never entered into the heart of man. Just so in the age to come we will be always with the Lord, seeing Christ flashing in the light of his divinity. This light surpasses every nature; this is the life which has overcome the world. But Peter said, ‘It is good for us to be here’; and then a cloud, not of gloom, but of light overshadowed them. The mystery which was hidden from the ages and from the generations is revealed. The voice of the Father issues from a cloud of the Spirit, and glory perpetual and everlasting is revealed.”

18. The prophetic Andrew of Crete says: “The Saviour leads his disciples up to the high mountain, to do what or to teach what? To show them the glory and brightness of his own divinity, which is more brilliant than lightning.

19. “This is what we celebrate today, the deification of our nature, the change into something better, the ecstasy and ascent to what is beyond nature, by which we achieve the conquest of the better, or to speak more properly, the ineffable deification.

20. “At this the angels marvel. At this the archangels give glory.

21. “At this all the spiritual rank of the celestial ones, feasting at the immaterial banquet, make the clearest and most infallible witness of the Word’s love for us.

22. “Nothing of what appears in the creation can contain the excess of this brightness. For he who is beyond essence truly entered into essence. In a manner beyond essence he assumed our essence. He became a citizen with us in the flesh, and yet he also shone out surpassingly on the mountain.

23. “He did not then become more radiant or more sublime than himself (far from it!), but what he was before he appeared in truth to those of his disciples who were perfected and initiated in the more sublime mysteries. For departing from the flesh and the world, as far as is possible, there they learned already from their own experience the conditions of the coming dispensation.

24. “For although the good is imparted in some degree to everyone, it becomes accessible not as it is but to the extent and in the manner it is possible for the participants. And this is true because of the high goodness which proceeds to everyone and pours forth with infinitely munificent illumination. This is demonstrated by the blessed and renowned experience itself, which the apostles underwent on the mountain, when the unapproachable and timeless light transfiguring its own flesh shone supernaturally with the excess of its own outpouring of light – what a marvel! In the perfect ecstasy of their nature they fall into deep sleep, and overcome by fear, they close their senses, completely drawing back all their intellectual movement and apprehension. Thus they came to be with God in that divine invisible darkness beyond light. By seeing nothing they received the capacity to see truly, and by incomprehensible experience they obtained the supreme ignorance. They were initiated by sleep into the wakefulness which is higher than all intellectual authority. They went outside of everything seen and thought, and even of themselves, so hat through unknowing and unseeing, by the appearance of the Word and the overshadowing of the Spirit and the voice of the Father brought from on high out of the cloud, they might be taught the supremely supernatural mystery which goes beyond all ignorance and negation.”

25. Concerning this divine light the great Gregory the Theologian says, “The Godhead which was revealed to the disciples on the mountain is light a little too strong to see”; and again, “He will come according to my word, but such as he was seen by the disciples or was revealed when divinity overcame the flesh.”

26. The holy Maximus says: “The Gospel of God is this, the intercession with God and the assistance to mankind through the Son who was made flesh and bestowed on those who believe in him the unbegotten deification as a reward of reconciliation with the Father; I call unbegotten deification the individually realised illumination which does not have a beginning, but incomprehensible revelation in those who are worthy”.

27. And again he says: “Not always with glory does the Lord appear to all his adherents: to those who are being instructed he comes in the form of a servant, but to those who are able to follow him as he ascends to the high mountain of his transfiguration he appears in the form of God, in which he was before the world existed”.

28. And again the same saint says: “The light of the face of the Lord, which exceeds the capacity of human perception, formed for the blessed disciples the model of mystical theology by negation, according to which the blessed and holy Godhead in its essence is beyond ineffable and beyond unknowable and infinitely removed from all unlimitedness. It leaves no track at all of comprehension however slight afterwards for those who have experienced it.

29. “He who is not participable by beings according to his essence,” says the same saint, “but who wishes to participate in another manner with those who are able, does not entirely depart from his essential hiddenness. Even the very manner in which he willingly participates remains perpetually unrevealed to everyone.”

30. And the great Basil says: “The Holy Spirit is unapproachable by nature, but accessible because of his goodness. He fills everything by his power, but can be shared only by those who are worthy. He is not shared in the same measure by all, but distributed his energy in proportion to the faith of the recipient. He is simple in his essence, manifold in his powers.

31. “He is present as a whole to each one and everywhere. He is distributed without suffering injury, and is shared as a whole, like a ray of the sun. While he is present to each recipient as if he were present to him alone, he sends his grace sufficient and complete to all.”

32. And again St Basil says: “The energies of God are diverse, but his essence is simple. We say that we know God from his energies, but we do not pretend to approach his essence. For his energies descend to us, but his essence remains unapproachable.”

33. For this is what the great Athanasius also says, that no human being is able to see the naked essence of God in any way. From this it is clear that the saints behold not the essence of God, but his glory. It is also written concerning the apostles, that Peter and his companions saw his glory when they awoke.

34. And again the same saint says: “Christ is free from suffering even in the sufferings of his flesh, since as God he overcame death and rose on the third day and ascended into heaven, in natural glory and not in grace. He will come in his own divinity, clearly radiating his ineffable glory from the holy body which he received from Mary, as also on the mountain he partially revealed, teaching us that both before and now he is the same, begin unchangeable always and having no alteration affecting his divinity.”

35. The great Dionysius also says this: “When we become incorruptible and immortal, and we arrive at the most blessed and Christlike condition, we will be always with the Lord according to the saying. In pure contemplation we will be filled with his visible revelation, which will envelop us with exceedingly brilliant radiance, as it enveloped the disciples in that most divine transfiguration. When our minds become impassible and immaterial, we will participate in his spiritual illumination and in the union beyond understanding, by the unknowable and blessed reception of the rays which surpass appearance, in a more divine imitation of the celestial intelligences.”

36. And the great Basil says: “The reward of virtue is to become God and to receive the lightning flash of the most pure light, becoming a sun of that day which is not cut off by darkness. For a different sun makes this day, the sun which flashes with the true light. When once this sun shines on us, it is no longer hidden in gloom, but enfolds everything in its illuminating power. It continuously and perpetually enlightens those who are worthy and even makes those who participate in that light into other suns. ‘Then’, it says, ‘the righteous shall shine like the sun’.”

37. The divine Maximus says: “The soul becomes God by the participation of divine grace. It both desists from all the activities of the mind and perception and at the same time stops the natural activities of the body. The body is deified along with the soul in proportion to its participation in deification, so that God alone then appears through both the soul and the body, as their natural characteristics are overcome by the excess of glory.”

38. The great Dionysius says: “We do not see any deification or life which accurately resembles the cause which is situated above all.”

39. The same saint was asked how he who is beyond all things is also beyond the source of God and beyond the source of good. He says: “If you would understand Godhead and goodness, it is the very substance of the good-creating gift and the inimitable imitation of the supremely divine and supremely good, by which we are made god and made good. For if this becomes the source of deification and perfection for those who are becoming gods and becoming good, the supreme source of every source is both beyond what we call Godhead and goodness and beyond the source of Godhead and the source of goodness.”

40. The divine Gregory of Nyssa says: “If his judgments cannot be examined, and his ways cannot be tracked down, and the promise to the good surpasses all conjecture from guesswork, how much more in its ineffability and unapproachability the divine itself is also higher and more sublime than what we understand about it.”

41. The divine John of Damascus also writes in his sacred songs: “So that thou mayest show clearly how at thy ineffable second coming thou wilt be seen standing as the most high God in the midst of gods, as thou didst shine ineffably to the apostles on Tabor, and to Moses with Elijah.”

42. And in another song he writes: “And briefly hiding the outer garment of flesh he was transfigured before them, revealing the comeliness of the archetypal beauty, though not in full. He satisfied them and spared them at the same time, lest with the vision they lose their life, but he appeared as they were able to endure, using their bodily eyes.”

43. The great Dionysius again says: “The divine darkness is the unapproachable light, in which God is said to dwell. It is both invisible, because of its supreme brightness, and unapproachable, because of the excess of its supernatural effusion of light.”

44. “Not God, however”, says our father Chrysostom, “but grace is poured out”.

45. In addition, Barlaam disparaged the fear which came upon the apostles at that most divine sight, alleging that the apostles’ fear showed that they were imperfectly prepared even for that very sight, and indicated that the light which they saw at that time was of an earthly nature. Then, undoubtedly enlightened in mind by this same light, the most divine and renowned emperor said, “There is also a fear not of beginners but of the perfect, concerning which the prophet says, ‘The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever’; and again elsewhere, ‘Fear the Lord all you his saints.’ Proof that the apostles then experienced the fear not of beginners but of the perfect: they sought to remain always with that ineffable vision. ‘Let us make here’, Peter says, ‘three tents’, and ‘It is good for us to be here.’ One who has the other kind of fear desires to escape from that which he fears. Peter, the summit of the apostles, thinking that this age of dimensions and limits had passed away, but that that the dimensionless and unceasing age of light had been revealed, said prophetically from the state of his soul, ‘It is good for us to be here’. For he evidently saw that which human nature would surely be unable to see if it were not permeated with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Those men were then found worthy of such sight as human nature would receive only if assisted by the Spirit.”

46. Again the emperor spoke, wise in divine matters as is to be expected among those who praise that most divine light: “Let none of us who hears suppose that we are saying that the nature of God is visible; for even though the apostles had ascended to such a height of contemplation, they saw divine grace and glory but not the nature itself which produces this grace. For we know, being initiated by the Divine Scriptures, that that nature is imparticipable, incomprehensible, invisible, even to the celestial and sublime powers, leaving not the slightest trace of comprehension afterward to those who have experienced it. Likewise the most theological of Gregories, after discussing the prophets’ visions, in continuing immediately added, ‘But neither these prophets, about whom we are speaking, nor anyone else like them, stood in the council and essence of the Lord, as it is written, nor saw or taught the nature of God’.” By these words and arguments, Barlaam was being refuted and put to shame for sacrilegiously and erroneously attacking what is sacred.

47. Furthermore, Barlaam was found to have made many misrepresentations and accusations in writing against the practitioners of the silent life. At the same time he attacked the prayer customary with them, or rather with all Christians, the “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” For he made this statement also concerning the prayer in these very words: “While there are many charges which one could justifiably make against the promulgator of this kind of doctrine, second to none I consider this, that trying to overturn the mysteries of Christians through his breathing exercises, he calumniates even the fathers, claiming that what he now teaches, these men also thought before. You crazy and wretched man, by which of them was such monstrosity as you teach ever called ‘watchfulness’ and ‘guarding of the heart’ and ‘attention’? They say that this man made it a rule for his initiates to use this prayer continually, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.’ From this therefore we can understand what kind of man he was who invented these breathing exercises. For on one hand the ‘Our Father’, which the Bogomils use differently, he does not prescribe, for he supposed that, if he did, his heresy would be obvious; nevertheless for those whom he directs to attend throughout life to this one small prayer, he leaves all the other prayers to be considered merely foolish babble. Furthermore, while all Christians call in this prayer our Lord Jesus Christ also ‘our God’, this man changed the ‘our God’ into ‘Son of God’. By this change he revealed to us the whole of his own heresy. For it is to follow the doctrine of the Bogomils that this man changes in the aforementioned prayer the ‘our God’ into ‘Son of God’, since no one could give any other reason why he would have made such a change.” These things that most godless Barlaam said.

48. These allegations contradict both the blessed utterances of that foundation of the faith, Peter, the leader of the disciples, and the Lord’s blessing on his words. For Peter said to him, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”; and the Lord replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven.” Besides, in the creed we say, “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, and in the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages.” So do we not glorify Christ as God, when we say that we believe in the Son of God? And about this sacred prayer also the divine teacher John with golden words says, instructing the monastics: “Devote yourself always to the Lord and persist in supplicating him until he has mercy on us. Seek nothing else but only mercy from the Lord of glory. Seeking mercy, seek with a humble and merciful heart, and cry out from morning to evening, and if possible all night, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us’. I beseech you, force your mind to this work until death. For this work requires much force, because narrow is the gate and hard is the way which leads to life, and men of force go in by it. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to men of force. I beseech you, do not separate your heart from God, but persist and guard it with the recollection of our Lord Jesus Christ always, until the name of the Lord takes root within your heart, and think of nothing else but that Christ might be magnified in you. I beseech you, therefore, never desist or despise the rule of this prayer, but whether you eat or drink or travel or do anything, unceasingly cry out, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us’. For ‘pray without ceasing’, the divine apostle says, without anger and speculation.”

49. But also the divine Diadochus says: “When we close every outlet to the mind by the recollection of God, it imperiously demands something to satisfy its need of activity. We must then give it the Lord Jesus, as the sole occupation that fully answers its need. For ‘no-one’, it is written, ‘calls Jesus Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.’” Those who repeat this holy and glorious name in the depth of their heart unceasingly can sometimes see the light of their own intellect. For then we grow fully conscious that the name is burning up all the filth which covers the surface of the soul. For “our God”, it is written, “is a consuming fire”. Therefore finally the Lord summons the would soul to love of his glory. For when the intellect with fervour of heart maintains persistently its remembrance of the glorious and desirable name, then that name undoubtedly implants in us a disposition to love his goodness. For this is the pearl of great price, which one can find by selling all its possessions and have unspeakable joy in finding it. And it would take too long to tell how the God-bearing fathers explain this and exhort us to it. The monks maintained persistently that this prayer is a thoroughly divine and delightful occupation according to the understanding of the God-bearers, inspired by the Spirit. At the same time they desired to continue telling how much the saints have set down in their writings, for example what was said by that John who constructed in words the ladder of the spiritual ascent; for he says, “May the memory of Jesus be united with your breath, and then you will know the value of quietness”.

50. As the monks were desiring to continue saying such things, the emperor, marvelous in all respects, who has now closed his life with a blessed end, as the Lord’s anointed took up speech again on behalf of Christ who anointed him. He said, “So be it. Let us grant that one of the heretics was the first to say this. It is no crime in us if we use well what they invented badly. For just because the Persians call Abraham the God of heaven, it does not follow that it is wrong for us to say, ‘I reverence the God of heaven’. Nor, because the pagan Greeks say that god is a mind which creates the universe, will we refrain from saying that he is the maker of the universe; neither would we be justly accused of thinking like them when we say this. For when the Greeks said that matter was unbegotten and coeternal with God, even if they said that God is the maker of the universe, they called him this not as one who produces what previously did not yet exist at all, but as one who arranges what already exists, merely giving form and harmonious arrangement to existing matter, with a small skill like man’s. They attributed nothing more than this to the power of God. For our part, just as we believe that everything has received from God its progress from nonbeing into existence and thus we know him accurately as maker of heaven and earth and everything in between, so also when we say that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we praise and proclaim him as true God from true God, both confessing the divinity of the Son and bearing witness to the source of the Son’s divinity. But they say that the Messalians and Bogomils pray the prayer which was transmitted by the Lord to his holy disciples and apostles. So what? Shall we therefore abstain from this prayer and abandon what is ours to those who have stolen it, and we ourselves avoid the truly pious expression because of those who imitate piety in words? Away with such shameful evil counsel! But since ‘we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he himself is the expiation for our sins’, with hope we will call on his name, and obtain salvation from such supplication, according to what was said by the prophet, ‘and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’. And since ‘there is no other name given among men, by which we must be saved’, and ‘no one is able to say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’, and ‘in the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth’, blessed is he who through continual repetition of this much-praised name has God dwelling within him.”

51. So by these words Barlaam was revealed and refuted as speaking blasphemously and heretically both about the divine light on Tabor and in his allegations against the monks concerning the sacred prayer which they practise and recite repeatedly. But the monks were demonstrated superior to his accusation. They were proved to be accepting and abiding by the explanations and traditions of the holy fathers concerning these matters, just as they themselves clearly confessed and insisted. Therefore the sam Barlaam, convicted (as has been said) by a common vote of the council for treating divine subjects wrongly and erroneously, sought indeed to be forgiven for these actions. And therefore we declare that if, on the one hand, he shows true repentance and corrects himself, and is no longer found speaking and shows true repentance and corrects himself, and is no longer found speaking and writing concerning such matters, it is well; but if not, he shall be excommunicated and cut off from the holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ and from the orthodox community of Christians.

52. Furthermore, if any one else should appear again repeating any of his blasphemous and heretical spoken or written accusations against the monks or in any way harassing them in such matters, he will be subject to the same condemnation from Our Modesty; he also shall be excommunicated and cut off from the holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ and from the orthodox community of Christians.

53. With severity therefore and spiritual austerity and censure we say: No longer from now on and hereafter shall anyone at all make dogmatic discourses concerning these and other doctrinal issues (that is, either in writing or unwritten), since no small scandals spring up from such activity in the Church of God. Confusion and disturbance, earthquakes and tidal waves assail the souls of the listeners, especially of the simpler people. Undoubtedly indeed it was for this reason that the God-bearing and holy fathers established the previously cited canons. Exercising foresight that no one hereafter may fall into similar errors, and publishing the present document as security, we have subscribed with our own signature, in the month of August of the ninth indiction.

It was also subscribed by the divine and patriarchal hand: John by the mercy of God archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and ecumenical patriarch.