About Our Faith

The Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church traces its origin to the day of Pentecost (The Day of the Holy Spirit) as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2: 1-4). The descent of the Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles to begin evangelizing and teaching; thus the Church was born. That inspiration has continued to guide the Church through many centuries. Today, the Orthodox Church consists of a world-wide communion of approximately 300 million Christians, organized into local, independent Churches, each headed by a single Bishop (whose title varies according to his rank). While the Orthodox Church preserves the three-fold hierarchy of Bishop, Priest and Deacon, the lower clergy and the laity are also called to a life of witness, ministry and service in the Church.

The Orthodox Faith

The Orthodox faith is essentially the faith of the early Church. Throughout history the Church has sought to find appropriate ways to speak about God, consistent with what God has revealed to us about Himself. The Church has also sought to express these truths, from age to age, in a manner that is understood and meaningful to contemporary men and women. Orthodox Christians, therefore, do not oppose Scripture and Tradition, but see Tradition as the unfolding of Christian faith in an inspiring, historical continuity. The Ecumenical Councils provide definitive statements of this faith but, in the end, this faith belongs to the mind and consciousness of the Church.

Worship and Tradition

Orthodox life involves the discovery of the ongoing drama that is called liturgy. This should not be equated with mere ritual. Rather, liturgy takes up the bold question of the relationship between God and mankind, it explores the mighty acts of God, and it continually invites men and women to respond faithfully in worship, prayer and service.

The liturgy is ongoing because it is a participation in the eternal worship of the hosts of angels and saints before God’s throne in the Heavenly Kingdom. Rather than performing a liturgy, we find our place within the cosmic liturgy, which embodies all of creation. It is through this liturgy that we encounter a historical continuity with the faith of the Church, which has power to change our lives. Our participation in the sacraments (or mysteries, as they are better called) enables us to grow in this faith so that, despite what challenges we may confront in this earthly life, we can deepen our awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

-Fr. John

Leave a Comment