Our Orthodox Faith

The Basics

What is the Orthodox Church? Who founded it?

The Orthodox Church is the original Christian faith, founded by Jesus Christ. His disciples were the first bishops of the Church, consecrated on the day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1-2). The Church is not the edifice per se, but the actual people of God (made up of both clergy and laity) and Christ Himself as the Head of the Church. 

What do you believe about the Holy Trinity? 

God is one in essence and undivided, but three Persons - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father eternally. They are equal, one divine nature and being, one will. Although this mystery of the Holy Trinity is inconceivable and impossible to understand as human beings, we see its truth in the Holy Bible. In the Book of Genesis, we hear God's voice in saying, "Let Us make man in Our Image, according to Our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26). We see the Trinity manifest in the events of Theophany and the Transfiguration

More info can be found at: 

The Holy Trinity - by Archbishop Sotirios of Canada

The Holy Trinity - Be the Bee video

The Holy Trinity - OrthodoxWiki

The Holy Trinity - Orthodox Church in America

Who is the Father? 

As St. John the Theologian says, the Father is forever unknowable (John 1:18, 1 John 4:12). We know that He is Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible, together with the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

More info can be found at: 

God the Father - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada

The Holy Trinity: One God, One Father - Orthodox Church in America

The Holy Trinity (Fr. John Breck) - YouTube

Who is Jesus Christ?

In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we read what Orthodox Christians believe about Christ.  

1 - We believe "in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made."

Jesus Christ is the Logos of God. He is forever - He has no beginning and no end - with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is not a creation (as a heretic, Arius, maintained), but He is the Creator together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. 

More info can be found at: 

I'm Orthodox...what does that mean? - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada

2-  "Who for us and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man."

As humanity succumbed to sin by the envy of the devil, God came to save them. After sending righteous and prophets to prepare the Way in the Old Testament and in the person of St. John the Baptist, we know that He was born in the flesh (or "incarnate"). This birth was a Virgin birth, from the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Jesus was, is, and always will be Perfect God. From the moment of the Annunciation, He became Perfect Man.

The Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos was when the Virgin Mary accepted to become the Mother of God. Jesus was born in the flesh on the feast of Christmas

More info can be found at: 

The Wonder of Christmas - Be the Bee video

Nativity - OrthodoxWiki 

3 - "He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and He suffered and was buried. On the third day, He rose according to the Scriptures."

God chose to save us not only by becoming one of us in the Incarnation, but through dying for us on the Cross. He was condemned "under Pontius Pilate", the Roman authority in Jerusalem at the time, after suffering "the spitting, the blows, the buffeting, the mockery, the reviling, the purple robe, the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, the nails, the spear, and above all, the Cross and Death, which He condescended to endure willingly for our sakes" (from the Passion Service of Holy Thursday evening). Buried for us and descending into Hades, He rose on the third day, "trampling death by His death and bestowing life to those in the tombs." Pascha is the greatest feast in the Orthodox Church, "festival among all the festivals." We confess this to be true, as described in the Bible ("the Scriptures").

Holy Week is the most important time of the year for Orthodox Christians, as we remember these events, celebrating our Lord's Resurrection together. 

More info can be found at: 

Holy Week - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 

Holy Week - OrthodoxWiki

Christ's Passion - Journey to Pascha in the Orthodox Christian Church

Christ's Resurrection - Journey to Pascha in the Orthodox Christian Church

4 - He ascended into the heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

After the Resurrection, Jesus was with His disciples for 40 days. He showed them He rose from the dead and did more miracles. In both the Gospel of John and the book of Acts, He tells them that He will send them the Holy Spirit ("the Comforter"). On the 40th day, Jesus ascended in glory to the Heavens, sitting at the right hand of the Father. As Jesus ascended with His body, it is a prefiguring of the Second Coming of Christ. His glorified body ascending shows us that we can ascend to the Heavens (that is, to become holy by grace) if we are united in Christ. 

More info can be found at: 

Holy Ascension - Exploring the Feasts of the Orthodox Christian Church

5 - He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end.

St. David the Prophet-King writes in the Psalms, "In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. They shall perish, but You will live forevermore" (102:25-26). Therefore, we know that the world will not last forever, but will have an end - when Jesus Christ will come back to judge all of humanity. The Lord tells us that, "those who have done good will rise to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:29). The "resurrection of life" is joining the Lord in His eternal Kingdom. It is important to note that Orthodox Christians do not believe in the so-called "rapture", but rather that judgment for all will occur on the "Final Day" of Christ's Second Coming.

More info can be found at: 

The "Last Things" in Holy Scripture - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The Rapture: Indisputable Christian Heresy - Mystagogy

Book of Revelation - Questions and Answers

What do you believe about the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. He is described as the Παράκλητος, the "Counselor" or "Helper" or "Comforter", Who dwells in every true Christian. If we have a true relationship between the Holy Spirit and us, we are able to live the fruits of the Spirit (as described by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, 5:22), namely: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.  

Just as the Father and the Son, we find out what we believe about the Holy Spirit in the Creed,  "the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets."

We call the Holy Spirit Lord because He is God, just as the Father and the Son are God. He is co-equal with the other two Persons of the Trinity, and not inferior in any way.

He is the Giver of Life as described by St. Paul in Romans 8:11: "the Spirit of God, Who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as He raised Christ from the dead, He will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living in you." 

He proceeds from the Father eternally, since this is what Jesus reveals about Him (see John 15:26). 

Together with the Father and the Son, as true God, He is worshipped and glorified through our prayer life - both personally and at corporate worship.

When we hear the prophets speaking in the Old Testament, we hear the Holy Spirit speaking through them (hence, the last line of this article of the Creed). 

The teachings of Macedonius, a heretic of the 4th century that taught the Holy Spirit was not God, were condemned as they were not based in Scripture and the Holy Tradition of the Church. This part of the Creed, and all the following articles, were added to the Creed in the Council of Constantinople in the year 381 A.D. 

More info can be found at: 

Holy Spirit - OrthodoxWiki

Holy Spirit - Orthodox Church in America

"O Heavenly King!": Teachings on the Holy Spirit Revealed in Prayer

Tell me about the Church, Baptism, Resurrection and the Afterlife.  

For Orthodox Christians, the Church is the people (to paraphrase St. Ignatius of Antioch). We believe the Church is: 

One, because there is only One God and One Truth. The Church is indivisible, just as God is indivisible. 

Holy, because the Head of the Church - Jesus Christ - is Holy. The people of the Church can become holy by grace, emulating the Head of the Church, Who is Holy by His nature. 

Catholic, because it has the fullness of Truth and is universal/global. While certain other confessions have certain bits of Truth, the catholic - entire - Truth of the Church only exists in the Orthodox Church. The Church is also universal/global, because there are Orthodox Churches all over the world. It is not a "nationalistic social club", but a communion of believers that are united in Christ all over the globe. 

Apostolic, because the Faith is the one given by Christ to the Apostles, who in turn taught it to their followers, which in turn continued until this present day. There are no "additions" to this Faith. This is also a reason the Orthodox Church has "apostolic succession", which states that the ordained Priesthood goes back to the Apostles (and doesn't exist "in a vacuum"). 

In regards to baptism, we acknowledge we must be baptised to join the Orthodox Church. Baptism (Gr. βαπτίζω) literally means "I immerse", which is why the Church practices triple immersion for all baptisms (in the Name of the Holy Trinity). We baptise as we follow Christ's words to "baptise all nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19), since "unless one is born again [of water and the Spirit] He cannot enter the Kingdom of God." (John 3) In the Orthodox Church, we practice both infant baptism and adult baptism. Adults wanting to be baptised must go through catechism. Godparents for an Orthodox baptism must be Orthodox Christians in good standing with the Church.

In terms of resurrection from the dead and the life of the age to come, we believe that our physical death is not the "end"; rather, it is one more step to us entering the Kingdom of God. As Orthodox Christians, we believe Jesus Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (see above); consequently, we await that Final day, where all will be judged by the Righteous Judge. After judgment, "those who have done good will rise to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:29) We remind ourselves that our final goal is to be united with God in this life and for it to continue in the next. The awaiting of this Final day and Paradise is our hope as Christians, where every tear will be wiped away and we will live in communion with God forevermore. 

Church - Orthodox Church in America

Baptism - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada

The End Times: An Orthodox Christian Perspective - Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta

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