Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Holy Bible


Sources that verify the Canonicity of the Holy Bible


Part 7: The Canon of Saint Amphilochios of Ikonion

This Canon was validated by the Quinisext Ecumenical Council. It is therefore one of the six Canons that the Church has acknowledged, as definitive of the Canon pertaining to the Holy Bible.

Saint Amphilochios of Ikonion provided a canon pertaining to Divinely inspired books.

General (on the 6 Canons)

The 6 accepted canons:


Herebelow is the Synod’s text and alongside it, is the translation of the Canon:

Synod text 1



Ή σεμνόν όνομα της Γραφής κεκτημένη.


Εισί γαρ εισίν έσθ’ ότε  ψευδώνυμοι.


Bίβλοι, τινές μεν έμμεσοι και γείτονες,


Ώς άν τις είποι, των αληθείας λόγων.


 Αι δ’ άρα νόθοι τε και λίαν επισφαλείς,


Ώσπερ παράσημα και νόθα νομίσματα,

Ά βασιλέως μεν την επιγραφήν έχει,


 Κίβδηλα δ’ εστί, ταις ύλαις δολούμενα.


Τούτου χάριν σοι των θεοπνεύστων ερώ βίβλον εκάστην.


Ώς δ’ άν ευκρινώς μάθης,


Τας της Παλαιάς πρώτα Διαθήκης ερώ.


Η Πεντάτευχος την Κτίσιν, είτ’ Έξοδον,


Λευϊτικόν τε την μέσην έχει βίβλον.


μεθ’ ήν Αριθμούς, είτα Δευτερονόμιον.


Τούτοις Ιησούν προστίθει και τους Κριτάς.


Έπειτα την Ρούθ, Βασιλειών τε τέσσαρας Βίβλους.


Παραλειπομένων δε γε δύο βίβλοι.


 Έσδρας απ’ αυταίς πρώτος, είθ’ ο δεύτερος.


Εξής στιχηράς πέντε σοι βίβλους ερώ.


Στεφθέντα1 τ’ άθλοις ποικίλων παθών Ιώβ,


Ψαλμών τε βίβλον, εμμελές ψυχών άκος.


 Τρείς δ’ αυ Σολομώντος του σοφού.


Παροιμοίαι,Εκκλησιαστής, Άσμα τ’ αυτων ασμάτων.

 Ταύταις Προφήτας προστίθει τους δώδεκα.


Ωσηέ πρώτον, είτ’ Αμώς τον δεύτερον, Μιχαίαν, Ιωήλ, Αβδίαν, και τον τύπον Ιωνάν αυτού του τριημέρου πάθους.

Ναούμ μετ’ αυτούς. Αββακούμ είτ’ ένατον.


 Σοφονίαν, Αγγαίον τε, και Ζαχαρίαν.


Διώνυμόν τε άγγελον Μαλαχίαν.


Μεθ’ ους Προφήτας μάνθανε τους τέσσαρας,


Παρρησιαστήν τον μέγαν Ησαΐαν.


Ιερεμίαν τε συμπαθή, και μυστικόν Ιεζεκιήλ, έσχατον δε Δανιήλ, Τον αυτόν έργοις και λόγοις σοφώτατον.


Τούτοις προσεγκρίνουσι την Εσθήρ τινές.


Καινής Διαθήκης ώρα μοι βίβλους λέγειν.


Ευαγγελιστάς τέσσαρας δέχου μόνους, στεφθέντας.


Ματθαίον, είτα Μάρκον, οις1 Λουκάν τρίτον


Προσθείς, αρίθμει τον Ιωάννην χρόνω Τέταρτον, αλλά πρώτον ύψει δογμάτων.

Βροντής γαρ υιόν εικότως τούτον καλώ, Μέγιστον ηχήσαντα τω Θεού2 λόγω.


 Δέχου δε βίβλον Λουκά και την δευτέραν Την των καθολικών Πράξεων Αποστόλων.


Το σκεύος εξής προστίθει της εκλογής, Τον των εθνών κήρυκα, τον Απόστολον Παύλον, σοφώς γράψαντα ταις εκκλησίαις Επιστολάς δις επτά.


Ρωμαίοις μίαν,


 Ή χρη συνάπτειν προς Κορινθίους δύο,


Την προς Γαλάτας, την τε προς Εφεσίους,


Μεθ’ ήν την εν Φιλίπποις, είτα την γεγραμμένην Κολοσσαεύσι, Θεσσαλονικεύσι δύο,


Δύο Τιμοθέω, Τίτω δε και Φιλήμονι, Μίαν εκάστω3,


και προς Εβραίους μίαν.


Τινές δε φασι την προς Εβραίους νόθον, Ουκ εύ λόγοντες. γνησία γαρ η χάρις. Είεν.



Τί λοιπόν; Καθολικάς επιστολάς4


Τινές μεν επτά φασιν. οι δε τρείς μόνας


Χρήναι δέχεσθαι, την Ιακώβου μίαν,


Μίαν τε Πέτρου, του τ’ Ιωάννου μίαν.


Τινές δε τας τρείς, και προς αυταίς τας δύο Πέτρου δέχονται, την Ιούδα δ’ εβδόμην.


Την δ’ Αποκάλυψιν του Ιωάννου πάλιν,

Τινές μεν εγκρίνουσιν. οι πλείους δε γε Νόθον λέγουσιν. Ούτος αψευδέστατος Κανών αν ειη των θεοπνεύστων Γραφών.


1. Η, ώ.

2. Ή, Θεώ.

3. Ή, εκατέρω.

4. Ή, καθολικών επιστολών.

(For you must know especially that)

not every book is infallible that has acquired the modest name of the Scriptures.


For there are books that appear, which are falsely titled;

Some are even directly the same and quite close,


to those words of the truth.


Those however are actually illegitimate and extremely precarious,


Just like decorations and counterfeit coins,


which, although bearing the king’s imprint,


they are in fact counterfeit, and deceitful about the materials they are made of.


Because of this, I shall tell you (which are) each of the divinely inspired (books)


so that you might learn clearly.


I shall tell you first of the (books of the) Old Testament.


The Pentateuch, with Genesis,  then Exodus,


Then Leviticus, in the middle of the book,



Then are the Numbers, then Deuteronomy.


To these are added (the book of) Joshua and Judges;


then Ruth, and then are the four books of Kings.


And then are of course the two books of Chronicles.


Ezra the first follows them, then (Ezra) the  second.

Following these, I will tell you of the five verse books.


Job, who was crowned by his achievements in his various sufferings,


And the book of Psalms, for the melodic relief of souls.


Similarly, the three (books) of Solomon:


Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.


To these, add the twelve (minor) Prophets


Oziah, then secondly Amos, Michaias, Joel, Abdias and Jonah – the precursor of the three day passion (of the Lord).


After these is Naum, then Abbakum is ninth.


Sophonias, and Aggaios and Zachary.


And the renowned angel, Malachy.


After these, you must learn the four (major prophets);


The great Isaiah, the outspoken one;


The sympathetic Jeremiah, and the mystical Ezekiel, and last of all, Daniel, the most wise – equally in actions and in words.


To these, some have approved (the inclusion of) Esther.


T is time now to speak of the books of the New Testament.


Of the Evangelists, you should accept only four as the acknowledged ones:


Matthew first, then Mark, then third in line Luke,


Then count John as fourth in chronic sequence but first in dogmatic stature.


For which I justifiably name him ‘son of thunder’, as he has loudly voiced the word of God.


Accept the book of Luke, and the second of the total Acts of the Apostles.


Then add the chosen vessel, the preacher of nations, the Apostle Paul, who wrote with wisdom twice seven (fourteen) epistles to the Churches.


One to Romans, 


to which it is necessary that we add the two to Corinthians,


the one to Galatians, and the one to Ephesians,


Along with which, the one to Philippians, then the one written to Colossians, and two to Thessalonians,


Two to Timothy, one each toTitus and Philemon.


And one to Hebrews.


But some say that the epistle to Hebrews is illegitimate, without being right about this, because the (holy) grace in it is genuine. So be it.


So, what’s left? The total  sum of epistles.


Some say that they are seven, others say only three.


We must accept the one of Jacob (James)


And one of Peter, one of John


Some accept that John’s are three, and apart from them, the two of Peter are accepted and the one of Judas as seventh.


Then again, the Revelations of John are approved by some, but most say that it is illegitimate. However, this could have been the most infallible canon of the divinely inspired Scriptures.



Commentary on the text

1.   Although the saint also speaks of Divinely inspired books, his canon is not a finalized one.  And this becomes obvious from the words in the last phrase: “..this could have been the most infallible canon of the Divinely inspired Scriptures.” The words: “could have been” implies that IT WASN’T AS YET. Therefore, he provides us with a canon, but one that remains open, judging by these words, thus leaving a margin for a more complete canon.

2.   Even though this canon is pursuant to the canon of Saint Athanasios, it is not so categorical as regards the books that it includes, as is Saint Athanasios’ canon. This means that up to that time, this canon had not been entirely accepted, and the discussion was still being continued up to then.  This is also apparent from the words he writes about the Revelations. Thus, Christians had to wait until the 7th century, in order for the matter to be canonized by the Quinisext Ecumenical Council, where these 6 canons were finally validated as approved guides for Christians. 

The information was taken from the exceptional book by the reserve professor of the Athens University Mr. Panagiotis Boumis, Dr. of Theology titled:”The Canons of the Church pertaining to the Canon of the Holy Bible”. Athens 1986 

Text: Ν.Μ.

Greek text

Translation by A.N.

Article published in English on: 18-7-2005.

Last update: 4-8-2005.