Just Released 2/19/23. All of the Sacred Canons of the Holy Orthodox Church (the Holy Apostles, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Fathers and additional Councils). VOLUME I OF THE RUDDER CAN BE ORDERED HERE
AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING BOOK RETAILERS:
“Wisdom has built her house with Seven Pillars” – Proverbs 9:1
“The Seven Thunders Sounded Their Voices…” – Revelation 10:4
The Rudder (also called the “Pedalion” in Greek) is a compilation of all of the Holy Canons in the Orthodox church. It was compiled by Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Agapius the Monk of Mount Athos in the year 1800. The fifth edition of the Greek text was translated into English by Denver Cummings in 1957 and published by the Orthodox Christian Education Society of Chicago, Illinois. This extensive work includes the 85 Canons of the Holy Apostles, the Canons of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Canons of the Region Synods, and the Canons of the Holy Fathers of the Church, in addition to other instructions and forms used within the Church. This new edition of The Rudder is divided into two volumes and replicates the complete material and formatting of the 1957 version published in English, including the full introduction and related editor commentaries added throughout the book from the Orthodox Christian Education Society. Volume I contains the Canons of the Apostles and Seven Ecumenical Councils, while this book in the series, Volume II, includes the Canons of the Regional Synods and Canons of the Holy Fathers of the Church. The Cover artwork of the book is based on iconography used in the Orthodox Church showing the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as a ship at sea. Jesus Christ is often depicted as the navigator of the ship. The sea is symbolic of our journey through life, with the rudder of the ship represented by the Holy Canons of the church. These canons are the critical navigation instruments to keep the Church on course and safe from corruption and danger through the treacherous ‘rough seas’ of heresy and assure us that by staying the course, the gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church-Bride. She who is the Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, symbolized as ‘Seven Thunders’ defending the ‘Birth’ of the ‘Man Child’ (Rev 12) – the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Cover artwork of the book is based on iconography used in the Orthodox Church showing the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as a ship at sea. Jesus Christ is often depicted as the navigator of the ship. The sea is symbolic of our journey through life, with the rudder of the ship represented by the Holy Canons of the church. These canons are the critical navigation instruments to keep the Church on course and safe from corruption and danger through the treacherous ‘rough seas’ of heresy and assure us that by staying the course, the gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church-Bride. She is the Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, symbolized in the scriptures as Seven Pillars and Seven Thunders (Rev. 10) – the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Nicodemus the Hagiorite (Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain) is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He was an Orthodox Christian monk at the Dionysiou monastery of Mount Athos who was also the co-author of THE RUDDER, Nicodemus was also a theologian, philosopher, and writer of liturgical poetry and author of other famous works such as The Philokalia. Born in Naxos, Greece in 1749, he reposed in the year 1809 and was canonized as a Saint by the Orthodox Church in 1955. His feast day is celebrated on July 14.
Editor’s Introduction from ELP
This new version of the 1957 English Translation of The Rudder/Pedalion is now available in two volumes (Vol. I and II) for the benefit of English-speaking clergy and those students entering Orthodox Christian seminaries in the United States, and for clergy and students around the world. It is a useful resource to aid in the study and understanding of the historical canons of the Holy Orthodox church. It can also be used as a research tool for clergy working with their bishops to interpret and apply the proper canons to the current issues of the day within their own churches. The Rudder is NOT intended for just anyone (i.e. the laity) to read and woefully misinterpret and misapply for their own use, especially without ecclesiastical supervision, causing more harm and damage in one’s spiritual development and journey in the faith.
This two-volume set contains (almost) all of the original content from the 1957 translation by Denver Cummings and the editors of the Orthodox Christian Education Society publishing company, based out of Chicago, IL until the mid 1980s. Some will ask why I decided to proceed with a reprint including all of the original content. First of all it was to give proper honor to the original editors of this publisher, like Kostas Andronis, who worked tirelessly to produce the very large first English translation of the Pedalion for our benefit. But some Orthodox have taken the material contained in this original translation and removed various sections, making it seem as if it was a “new revised translation” while not really changing the majority of the translated English text. The Rudder’s 1957 English translation was even edited in PDF copies to the point that it looks more like the public release of a top-secret national security document with blacked out sections covering up the missing and removed content, which the revisionists felt polluted the Pedalion as they even cited the additional commentary as “dangerous” for reasons explained below. We know for certain that the editors of the Orthodox Christian Education Society frequently translated and produced many works by a Greek nineteenth-century philosopher and theologian Apostolos Makrakis. And it was only these same editors who occasionally inserted commentary and some advertisements to some of the reprinted books through out the 1957 translation of The Rudder.
These additions were often to be looked on unfavorably by some Orthodox given the controversy surrounding Makrakis and his attacks on the Holy Synod, who then tried to silence him. However, it is incorrect to assume, as it is claimed, that the 1957 version of The Rudder was actually compiled by Makrakis and edited with his own footnotes and additions. This is simply not the case. Any additions were clearly noted by the editor’s comments (“By the Editors”, or “From the Editors”, etc). This edited English translation by D. Cummings was primarily based on the 1908 Greek edition and all of the footnotes included therein. But, for those uncomfortable with the additional commentary should not be worried with the restored content. I have designed to book such that the reader is left on their own to decide to examine the additional commentary or to simply skip over these sections. I have painstakingly identified and clearly marked these sections with greyed out boxes surrounding the sections to easily identify them for the reader. In some of these sections, the editors merely included their own commentary on a particular canon, while other times they included related theological works from Makrakis to provide additional insight on a canon, or they drew inspiration from other Greek authors like Abba Aristarchus. However, it should be noted that the publisher did also include some advertisements for some of their other works and how how to purchase them. I have removed all of these sections as this material no longer seemed applicable today and I felt that content was rather outdated. Regardless, it is left to the reader to decide if they find the related material to a particular canon useful and edifying, or to simply ignore it.
The sacred Canons are why the Orthodox Church has maintained the purity of the ancient faith through the decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils and guidance by the Holy Apostles and other Fathers of the Church. These seven councils, and the canons resulting from the councils, are most certainly the Seven Thunders and Seven Pillars spoken of in the scriptures. These are explained to us by saintly men such as Fr Daniel Sysoev (see his work – Explanation of the Apocalypse, Rev ch. 10). These seven councils, and their decrees or “thunders” have guided our mother church, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the ark or ship of our salvation. This ark, the Bride of Christ, holds steadfast to this day the defense of the true nature and identity of the God-Man. But a ship without a rudder is doomed to fail, and wander aimlessly in the moral darkness that exists in our world today. We see the results of the rejection and misapplication of the canons today which led to the creation of thousands of other denominations of Christianity, resulting in a darkened and obscured view of our Sun, and a moon that does not shed its light upon the world, as the stars (leaders and bishops) meant to guide us through the rough seas and moral darkness of this world have fallen out of favor in these churches, resulting in the power and authority of their kingdom shaken to their very foundation and core (Matthew 24:29). The Holy Canons are meant to be our navigation instruments used to help us steer and keep the church on course. Without them we would surely become just another “denomination.”
May we stay the course. And may the Lord guide you in our study and application of the Holy Canons as you shepherd your flocks within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – the Ark of our Salvation! Amen!
– Jonathan Photius, Eastern Light Publishing, LLC Date: 2/19/23