On the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the triumph of Orthodoxy, the victory over the iconoclastic heresy. The heresy denied the use of icons in worship, considering it to be idolatry. However, the Orthodox Church recognized the use of icons as essential in the faith and practice of Christianity.
The Sunday of Orthodoxy is a day of celebration of the true faith. It is a day of joy, but also of repentance, for the Church recognizes that, in the past, some of its members have fallen into error and heresy. Nevertheless, the Church affirms that it is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
On this day, the Orthodox Church conducts a special service called the Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, during which we encourage the faithful to carry icons in a procession around the church. This is a sign of the victory of the true faith and a reminder of the importance of the use of icons in worship.
As we celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we are reminded of the importance of holding fast to the true faith and of rejecting false teachings and heresies. We are called to be vigilant in our faith, to guard the faith that has been entrusted to us, and to defend it against all who would seek to distort or corrupt it.
May we, as Orthodox Christians, hold fast to the true faith, and always be mindful of the triumph of Orthodoxy, which reminds us of the victory of the true faith over all the forces of darkness and error.