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      What is the Orthodox Church? History and Beliefs of Orthodoxy
      • Orthodox Definition and Meaning. Orthodox: (of a person or their views, especially religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices) conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as ...
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      • Beliefs and Worship of the Orthodox Church. ...
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  1. People also ask

    What does it mean to be an Orthodox Christian?

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  2. What is Orthodox Christianity?

    holy12.org › orthodox-christianity
    • Introduction to Orthodox Christianity
    • God
    • Jesus Christ
    • Mankind
    • Salvation
    • The Church
    • Holy Tradition and The Scriptures
    • Spirituality
    • Worship
    • Sacraments

    Orthodox Christianity is not familiar to most Americans, even though the community of the Orthodox has existed for some 2,000 years even though there have been Orthodox Christians in America since its founding as a nation. So, what is Orthodox Christianity? It is the life in faith of the Orthodox Church, inseparable from that concrete, historic community and constituting its whole way of life. The Orthodox Christian faith is that faith “handed once to the saints” (Jude 3), passed on to the apostles by Jesus Christ, and then handed down from one generation to the next within the Church, without adding anything or taking anything away. The purpose of Orthodox Christianity is the salvation of every human person, uniting us to Christ in the Church, transforming us in holiness, and giving us eternal life. This is the Gospel, the good news, that Jesus is the Messiah, that He rose from the dead, and that we can be saved as a result. Historically, the Orthodox Church is the oldest of all Ch...

    Who is God? Orthodox Christians worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Holy Trinity, the one God (Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; I Peter 1:1-2; Rom. 14:17-18, 15:16, etc.). Following the Holy Scriptures as interpreted by the Holy Fathers of our faith, the Church believes that the Trinity is three divine persons of one essence. There never was a time when any of the persons of the Trinity did not exist. God is beyond and before time and yet acts within time, moving and speaking within history. God is not an impersonal essence or merely a “higher power,” but rather the divine Persons of the Trinity relate to mankind personally. Neither is the word Godmerely a name for three gods—we’re not polytheists. Rather, the Orthodox faith is monotheist and yet Trinitarian. The God of the Orthodox Christian Church is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the I AM who revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-14). The Church primarily draws near to God and communes with Him in divin...

    Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. He is the I AM revealed to Moses (Ex. 3:2-14). He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). He is the God before the ages who came to Earth as a little child. He and the Father are one (John 10:30), because He is of one essence with the Father. During His suffering and death on the cross, one of the Trinity suffered in the flesh. As described in the Gospels, Jesus Christ was born of a woman—the Virgin Mary—as a real human child. He grew into a full-grown man. He preached, healed, taught His disciples, died in physical reality on the cross, and then rose bodily from the dead on the third day. He then ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9) and sat down at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19). Of all mankind, He alone is without sin. Jesus is the Theanthropos, the God-man. He is not half God and half man, nor is He a hybrid of the two. Rather, He is fully God and fully man, perfect in His divinity and perfect in His humani...

    Orthodox Christian doctrine about human nature—which we call anthropology—teaches that man was created by God to worship Him in communion with Him, made according to His image to attain to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). Each human being is of infinite value, because we bear the indelible stamp of our Creator. All human beings are composed of both a soul and body, which are permanently part of human nature. Man was created sinless, but not perfected, and so although Adam, the first man, was pure when he was created, he was created for dynamic progress, capable of growing more and more like God. At the fall of mankind, when Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, they not only sinned in violation of God’s commandments, but their whole way of being changed. Their nature was not changed in itself, but the image of God in them became obscured by sin. And sin is a separation from God in our very being. So even though we’re fallen, we’re not totally depraved, but we suffer from the disease of s...

    In the Orthodox Church, salvation is primarily understood as theosis. Theosis is the infinite process of becoming more and more like God. Theosis can be translated as deification or divinization, and its meaning is that the Christian can become more and more soaked with the divine life, becoming by grace what Christ is by nature. As St. Athanasius the Great (4th century) put, “God became man so that man might become divine.” By participation in the Incarnation, we can become like Christ. Becoming like Christ is much bigger than just where we go when we die. For the Orthodox, salvation is a process that encompasses not only the whole earthly life of the Christian, but also the eternal life of the age to come. It is often described in terms of three stages—purification (katharsis), illumination (theoria) and divinization (theosis). Salvation is therefore not only becoming sinless (purification), but it is also progress in being filled with the divine light (illumination). And it is be...

    The Church is the Body of Christ, a divine and human communion of Jesus Christ with His people. The only head of the Church is Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22, 5:23; Col. 1:18). Our Creed describes the Church as the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. This means that the Church is one—undivided and not many; it’s holy—sanctified and set apart for the work of God; it’s catholic—whole and characterized by fullness and universality; and it’s apostolic, going out into all the world to preach the Gospel and baptize the nations, as well as being rooted and founded in the work of the Apostles. And the word Church itself in its Greek form of ekklesiameans “those who are called out.” The Church is called out from the world by God. The Church is the Bride of Christ (John 3:29), united to the Son of God in faith and love. And He gave himself up on the cross for the Church (Eph. 5:23). The intimacy of a husband and wife is an earthly image of the intimacy that Christ has with His Church, and the...

    Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. That means nothing gets added, nothing gets changed, and nothing gets removed. Holy Tradition is transmitted to the Christian from the Apostles of Jesus Christ both by word of mouth and in writing (II Thess. 2:15, 3:6). The Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky famously described Tradition as “the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.” It is dynamic in its application, but unchanging in its doctrine. It is growing in expression, yet always the same in its essential meaning. Unlike some ideas about tradition, the Orthodox Church does not see Holy Tradition as something that grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accumulate, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith...

    The word spiritualitycan be kind of hard to define, so let’s say for now that it means “the daily life of the Orthodox Christian.” Orthodox Christians seek to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17), and so for nearly every moment in life, every task, every occasion, there is prayer. It might be a written prayer. It might be a meditative prayer. It might be off the top of our heads. Extemporaneous prayer has a place in the life of the Orthodox Christian, but in general, the Orthodox draw more on the experience of the saints rather than own private opinions, which are less trustworthy. The spiritual life of an Orthodox Christian is liturgical, sacramental, and mystical. Spiritual intensity is not something reserved for super Christians or monks or nuns. It’s for everyone. This life means prayer and frequent participation in liturgical services in church. It’s also a whole ascetical way of life, which means fasting and other ascetical disciplines, such as non-possessiveness, so that the...

    For the Orthodox Christian, worship is the highest calling of mankind, to fall down at the feet of the Almighty God, the Holy Trinity, and to give ourselves totally to God, becoming united mystically with Him in the holy mysteries (the “sacraments”). To worship God is to fulfil the purpose for which we were created. Orthodox worship is liturgical. That means that it follows specific ritual patterns and cycles, with music and prayer and symbolic actions. Liturgical worship is conducted in reverent dignity and embraces the whole of the human person—all five senses! Worship has to be done with reverence and awe, because we are entering into the very throne room of the Creator. But does liturgicalmean repetitive and boring? Anything can get boring if done wrongly, but the rich tradition of Orthodox worship is a whole world to explore, one that cannot be exhausted even over a lifetime. Orthodox worship is transformative, bringing us more deeply into communion with God and through coopera...

    In a sense, the Church’s whole life is sacrament. The more traditional term for the sacraments in the Orthodox Church is the holy mysteries. In the mysteries, the Christian is united with God, becoming a partaker of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). With all the sacraments, God is present for us in His divine energies, using physical means to convey Himself to his people. The word mystery means both something beyond our understanding but also the mystical, which is that which unites the divine with the human. Historically, the word mysteryrefers not so much to a “thing” as to an “action,” God acting upon us. There are seven generally recognized sacraments, though we’ve never made that number official. Two are sacraments of initiation into the Church, baptism (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:21) and chrismation(also called confirmation; Acts 8:14-17, 19:6). Another one completes the initiation and then nourishes the whole life of the Christian, the Eucharist, which is regard...

  3. FAQ's About the Orthodox Church | Saint Mark Greek Orthodox ...

    saintmarkboca.net › about-us › what-we-believe

    The term “Orthodox” means “correct praise” or “right doctrine.”. During the early centuries of its history, when it was united, the Church was both orthodox and catholic; that is, it was the Church of “correct praise” and was “universal” (which is what catholic means). The term “orthodox” was used by the Church to separate itself from other groups that held false doctrines about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, and the Church.

  4. Orthodox Church - OrthodoxWiki

    orthodoxwiki.org › Orthodox_Church
    • Very Brief History
    • Beliefs and Practices
    • Current Church Structure
    • Number of Adherents
    • Further Reading

    Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and founded the Church, through His Apostles and disciples, for the salvation of man. In the years which followed, the Apostles spread the Church and its teachings and founded many churches, all united in faith, worship, and the partaking of the Mysteries (or as they are called in the West, the Sacraments) of the Holy Church. The churches founded by the Apostles themselves include the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antio...

    The Orthodox Church recognizes as authoritative the decisions of the seven ecumenical councils that met between 325 AD and 787 AD and defined the basic doctrines on the Trinity and the Incarnation. In later centuries Orthodox councils also made doctrinal definitions on Grace (1341 AD, 1351 AD) and took a stand in reference to Western teachings. The Church keeps the early traditions of Christianity, infants receive the Eucharist and confirmation, and the episcopate and the priesthood are under...

    The Eastern Orthodox Churches of today consist of a family of fourteen autocephalous churches and five autonomous churches, sometimes referred to as jurisdictions. The number of autocephalous churches has varied in history. Autocephalous churches are fully self-governing in all they do, while autonomous churches must have their primates confirmed by one of the autocephalous churches, usually its mother church. All the Orthodox churches remain in full communion with one another, sharing the sa...

    The most common estimate of the number of Orthodox Christians worldwide is approximately 225-300 million individuals.. Other estimates, such as in The Encyclopedia of the Developing World, place the number of overall Orthodox worshippers in 1996 at 182 million individuals, including the following breakdown: 1. Russian Federation: 70-80 million 2. Ukraine: close to 30 million 3. Romania: 20 million 4. Greece: 9.5 million 5. United States: close to 7 million 6. Serbia and Montenegro: close to 7...

    The following are published writings that provide an introduction or overview of the Orthodox Church and its teachings:From an Orthodox perspective 1. Alfeyev, Hilarion; Rose, Jessica, ed. The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church. (ISBN 0232524726) 2. Bajis, Jordan. Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian. (ISBN 0937032816) 3. Bulgakov, Sergius. The Orthodox Church. (ISBN 0881410519) 4. Cunningham,...

  5. What are the major differences between Eastern Orthodox and ...

    askinglot.com › what-are-the-major-differences

    Mar 04, 2020 · The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It maintains that it practices the original Christian faith, as passed down by holy tradition.

  6. Tradition in the Orthodox Church - Theology - Greek Orthodox ...

    www.goarch.org › - › tradition-in-the-orthodox-church
    • Terminology and Meaning
    • The Apostolic Tradition
    • The Patristic Tradition
    • Universality and Timelessness of Tradition
    • Tradition and Traditions
    • The Ecumenical Councils
    • Other Councils and Confessions of Faith
    • The Living Tradition of The Eucharist
    • Suggestions For Further Reading

    The term "tradition" comes from the Latin traditio, but the Greek term is paradosis and the verb is paradido.It means giving, offering, delivering, performing charity. In theological terms it means any teaching or practice which has been transmitted from generation to generation throughout the life of the Church. More exactly, paradosisis the very life of the Holy Trinity as it has been revealed by Christ Himself and testified by the Holy Spirit. The roots and the foundations of this sacred tradition can be found in the Scriptures. For it is only in the Scriptures that we can see and live the presence of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. John the Evangelist speaks about the manifestation of the Holy Trinity: The essence of Christian tradition is described by St. Paul, who writes: He also makes clear that this Trinitarian doctrine must be accepted by all Christians: Speaking about the Holy Eucharist, which is a manifestation of the Ho...

    Theologians call this teaching of the Scriptures "the Apostolic Tradition." It encompasses what the Apostles lived, saw, witnessed and later recorded in the books of the new Testament. The bishops and presbyters, whom the Apostles appointed as their successors, followed their teaching to the letter. Those who deviated from this apostolic teaching were cut off from the Church. They were considered heretics and schismatics, for they believed differently from the Apostles and their successors, thus separating themselves from the Church. This brings into focus the Church as the center of unity of all Christians. This is the ecclesiastical or ecclesiological characteristic of Tradition. The Church is the image and reflection of the Holy Trinity since the three persons of the Holy Trinity live, indwell, and act in the Church. The Father offers His love, the Son offers His obedience, the Holy Spirit His comfort. Only in the historical Church can we see, feel, and live the presence of the H...

    From what has been said so far, it can be seen that there is no theological distinctions or differences or divisions within the Tradition of the Church. It could be said that Tradition, as an historical event, begins with the Apostolic preaching and is found in Scriptures, but it is kept, treasured, interpreted, and explained to the Church by the Holy Fathers, the successors of the Apostles. Using the Greek term Pateres tes Ecclesias, the Fathers of the Church, this "interpretive" part of the Apostolic preaching is called "Patristic Tradition." The Fathers, men of extraordinary holiness and trusted orthodoxy in doctrine, enjoyed the acceptance and respect of the universal Church by witnessing the message of the Gospel, living and explaining it to posterity. Thus, Apostolic Preaching or Tradition is organically associated with the Patristic Tradition and vice versa. This point must be stressed since many theologians in the Western churches either distinguish between Apostolic Traditi...

    Another characteristic still needs to be added, namely that the Tradition of the Church is universal in space and time. St. Vincent of Lerins, a bishop and writer in France during the fifth century, writes that "we must hold what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all" (Common, 2). Indeed, the Church with all her members, always, from the time of her inception until the end of time, accepts and teaches everywhere the redemptive work of Christ. This does not mean that the Church and Her Tradition move within numerical, geographical or chronological limits. The Church and Her Tradition, although they live in history, are beyond history. They have eternal value, because Christ, the Founder of the Church, has no beginning and no end. In other words, when the universality of the Church Tradition is mentioned, it refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables the Church to preserve until the end of time the Apostolic truth unadulterated, unbroken, and unaltered. This is tr...

    This description by St. Basil gives the true "existential" dimensions of the Holy Tradition of the Church. For the Orthodox, therefore, Tradition is not a static set of dogmatic precepts, or the uniform practices of the liturgical ritual of the Church. Although Church Tradition includes both doctrinal and liturgical formulas and practices, it is more properly the metamorphosis, the continuous transfiguration of the people of God, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit, as experienced in the daily life of the Church. This does not mean that Tradition is something abstract and theoretical or that it ignores the daily needs of human nature. On the contrary, the "rule of faith" becomes every day the "rule of worship." Doctrine, prayer, moral guidance, and liturgical practices are indispensable parts of Holy Tradition. Some theologians speak about traditions with a small "t," as being the written or unwritten practices...

    As has already been noted, the authority, the power, and the impact of Tradition are found in the Scriptures and the Patristic teaching as a total and unified expression of the revelation of the Holy Trinity in the world. Christ, as the ultimate and supreme Teacher, Shepherd and King, exercises His authority in the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and their successors. The Apostles, their successors and the whole people of God are the Body of Christ extending throughout the ages. "There is no private teaching save the common doctrine of the Catholic Church," wrote St. Maximos the Confessor (seventh century; Migne PG, 90, 120C). In the reply to Pope Pius IX in 1848, the Eastern Patriarchs wrote that "the Defender of the faith is the very Body of the Church, that is the people, who want their faith kept constantly unvarying and in agreement with the Fathers." Thus the clergy and the laity are both responsible for the preservation of the authentic and genuine Holy Tradition in and thro...

    There are also other means of re-affirming the universality of the Orthodox faith. There are, for instance, Councils which were convened during the fourteenth century in Constantinople dealing with the Palamite controversy, that is, the teaching of Gregory Palamas concerning the distinction between divine essence and divine energy. These councils are accepted as having ecumenical status. There are the writings and Confessions of Faith written by great teachers of the Church during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Examples might include the letter of Mark of Ephesus (1440-1441) to all Orthodox Christians; the correspondence of Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople with the German Reformers (1573-1581); the council of Jerusalem (1672) and the Confession of Faith by Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem (1672), and the writings of St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, who published the Rudder, a book of great canonical and theological importance (1800). Also to be included are the...

    It is interesting to emphasize another form of the Synodical system, which accentuates the importance of Tradition: the Eucharist itself. In the Eucharist, all Orthodox Christians meet together and in absolute agreement, in doctrine and practice witness the presence of the Holy Trinity on the altar of the Church. The bishop and the priest pray to God the Father to send the Holy Spirit and transform the bread and wine into the very body and blood of Christ. All the faithful present are called to receive Communion and become active members of the Body of Christ. In the liturgy, as it was instituted by the Lord Himself, the whole Church meets every day to proclaim and live the oneness and the unity of faith in Jesus Christ. In the Orthodox liturgy, we see all the history of Tradition embodied in the body and blood of Christ. St. Gregory Palamas writes the following in connection with the Holy Eucharist: This emphasis on the Eucharist shows that Tradition is a dynamic way of life unfold...

    G. Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View,Belmont, Mass., 1972. V. Lossky, "Tradition and Traditions", in In The Image and Likeness of God, ed. J.H. Erickson and T.E. Bird, Crestwood, N.Y., 1974, pp. 141-168. J. Meyendorff, "The Meaning of Tradition," in Living Tradition, pp. 13-26. G.S. Bebis, "The Concept of Tradition in the Fathers of the Church," Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Spring 1970, Vol. XV, No. 1, pp. 22-55. C. Scouteris, "Paradosis: The Orthodox Understanding of Tradition," Sobornost-Eastern Churches Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 30-37.

  7. Everything “Unorthodox” gets wrong about being Orthodox Julie Joanes ... It takes practices that have profound spiritual meaning completely out of context, debasing a religion which has stood ...

  8. A Guide to the Symbolism of Orthodox Candles

    www.simpleguideto.com.au › guide-to-symbolism-of

    As you can see, the meaning of orthodox candles is huge, especially for real believers. By lighting a candle and praying for their soul and health, a true believer can feel an instant relieve which is important for their mental health. That is why upon entering the church, believers should light a candle in front of the icons.

  9. Orthodox Worship: Changing the Way I Approach the Divine ...

    blogs.ancientfaith.com › behind-the-scenes › 2019

    Apr 08, 2019 · One of the things that was so beneficial about this section was that the authors explain how Orthodox worship is a universal, richly symbolic and meaningful experience that culminates in a real, living, and transformative moment of union with God. As a convert from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, I could have benefited from Part I of this book 10 ...

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