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Ecumenical (A.D. 787), attended by 377 Bishops, seemed to end the heresy; but it again broke out under the Iconoclast Emperor, Leo the Armenian (813), and after having been carried on under the usurper Michael, and his son Theophilus, ended with the death of the latter in 842. In the Hymnographers of this epoch, it may be noticed that the Second Council of Nicæa forms the culminating point of ecclesiastical poetry. Up to that date, there is a vigour and freshness which the twenty-eight years of peace succeeding the Council corrupted, and that rapidly, with the fashionable language of an effete court, and deluged with Byzantine bombast.
S. Andrew of Crete.
A.D. 660....A.D. 732.
Andrew was born at Damascus, about the year 660, and embraced the monastic life at Jerusalem, from which city he sometimes takes his name. Hence he was sent on ecclesiastical business to Constantinople, where he became a Deacon of the Great Church, and Warden of the Orphanage. His first entrance on public life does no credit to his sanctity. During the reign of Philippicus Bardanes, (711-714) he was raised by that usurper to the Archiepiscopate of Crete; and shortly afterwards was one of the Pseudo-Synod of Constantinople, held under the Emperor's auspices in A.D. 712, and which condemned the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and restored the Monothelite heresy.
At a late period, however, he returned to the faith of the Church, and refuted the error into which he had fallen. Seventeen of his
Homilies, rather laboured than eloquent, remain to us that in which he rises highest is, not unnaturally, his sermon on S. Titus, Apostle of Crete. He died in the island of Hierissus, near Mitylene, about the year 732.
As a poet, his most ambitious composition is the Great Canon; which, partially used during other days of Lent, is sung right through on the Thursday of Mid-Lent week, called, indeed, from that hymn. His Triodia in Holy Week, and Canons on Mid-Pentecost are fine; and he has a great variety of spirited Idiomela scattered through the Triodion and Pentecostarion.
STICHERA FOR GREAT THURSDAY.
τὸ μέγα μυστήριον.
O the mystery, passing wonder,
When, reclining at the board,
"That True Bread with quickening stored: "Drink in faith the healing chalice
"From a dying GOD outpoured."
Then the glorious upper chamber
When the bloodless rite was offered,
And the table of the feaster's
As an altar stood displayed.
CHRIST is now our mighty Pascha,
Take we of His broken body,
Drink we of the Blood He shed.
To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,
To the Branches spake the Vine:
Of my FATHER, and with Mine.
Thou hast stretched those hands for silver
Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;
Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.
CHRIST to all the world gives banquet
Priest and Victim all complete.