Enchiridion Symbolorum,

with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1955

Definition of the Sacred Images and Tradition [302-304; 306-308]

Ecumenical VII (against the Iconoclasts)
Definition of the Sacred Images and Tradition 1


(I. Definition) ...We, continuing in the regal path, and following the divinely inspired teaching of our Holy Fathers, and the tradition of the Catholic Church, for we know that this is of the Holy Spirit Who certainly dwells in it, define in all certitude and diligence that as the figure of the honored and life-giving Cross, so the venerable and holy images, the ones from tinted materials and from marble as those from other material, must be suitably placed in the holy churches of God, both on sacred vessels and vestments, and on the walls and on the altars, at home and on the streets, namely such images of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Savior, and of our undefiled Lady, or holy Mother of God, and of the honorable Angels, and, at the same time, of all the Saints and of holy men. For, how much more frequently through the imaginal formation they are seen, so much more quickly are those who contemplate these, raised to the memory and desire of the originals of these, to kiss and to render honorable adoration to them, not however, to grant true latria according to our faith, which is proper to Divine nature alone; but just as to the figure of the revered and life-giving Cross and to the holy Gospels, and to the other sacred monuments, let an oblation of incense and lights be made to give honor to these as was the pious custom with the ancients. "For the honor of the image passes to the original"; 2 and he who shows reverence to the image, shows reverence to the substance of Him depicted in it.

(II. Proof) For thus the doctrine of our Holy Fathers, that is, the tradition of the Catholic Church which has received the Gospel from and even to the end of the world is strengthened. Thus we follow Paul, who spoke in Christ [2 Cor. 2:17], and all the Divine apostolic group and the paternal sanctity keeping the traditions [2 Thess. 2:14] which we have received. Thus prophetically we sing the triumphal hymns for the Church: Rejoice exceedingly, O daughter of Sion, sing forth, O daughter of Jerusalem: be joyful and be happy with all your heart. The Lord has taken from you the injustices of those adverse to you: He has redeemed you from the power of your enemies. The Lord is king in your midst: You will not see more evils [Wisd. 3:4 f. LXX] and peace to you unto time eternal.

304 [Emphasis in bold added.]

(III. Declaration) Those, therefore, who dare to think or to teach otherwise or to spurn according to wretched heretics the ecclesiastical traditions and to invent anything novel, or to reject anything from these things which have been consecrated by the Church: either the Gospel or the figure of the Cross, or the imaginal picture, or the sacred relics of the Martyr; or to invent perversely and cunningly for the overthrow of anyone of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church; or even, as it were, to use the sacred vessels or the venerable monasteries as common things; if indeed they are bishops or clerics, we order (them) to be deposed; monks, however, or laymen, to be excommunicated.

Images, the Humanity of Christ, Tradition 3



We admit that images should be venerated. Those of us who are not so minded we subject to anathema. ...

If anyone does not confess that Christ, our Lord, has not been described according to His humanity ... let him be
an anathema.

If anyone rejects all ecclesiastical tradition either written or not written
... let him be an anathema.

1 Msi XIII 378 C ff.; Hrd IV 455 A f.; cf. Hfl III 472 ff.; Bar(Th) ad 787 n. 1 ff. (13, 195 ff.).
2 Cf. St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18, 45 [MG 32, 149C].
3 Msi XIII 41 AC; Hrd IV 483 CE.