OF THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC CHURCH
This ship symbolizes the Catholic Church of Christ. Its keel represents the Orthodox Faith in the Holy Trinity. Its beams and planks represent the dogmas and traditions of the Faith. Its mast represents the Cross; its sail and rigging represent Hope and Love. The Master of the vessel is our Lord Jesus Christ, whose hand is on the helm. The mates and sailors are the Apostles, and the successors of the Apostles, and all clergymen, secretaries and notaries, and occasional teachers. The passengers comprise all Orthodox Christians. The sea symbolizes present life. A gentle and zephyr-like breeze signifies whiffs and graces of the Holy Spirit wafting the vessel on its course. Winds, on the other hand, are temptations baffling it. Its Rudder, whereby it is steered straightforwardly to the heavenly harbor is the present Book of the Holy Canons.
Note that divine Chrysostom also likens the Church to a ship (see Volume VI, page 426, line 10, and Volume VII, page 502, line 20 of the Etonian edition).
The Rudder of the Orthodox Catholic Church is the second most important written source of Holy Tradition, that preserves the essence of our Faith. It is a treasure to all of us, but is sadly a hidden treasure, which is next to the Holy Scripture in importance, and in rank. Both the Scripture and the Rudder are inspired by God. The difference being that the Holy Scripture writings of individuals, are directly inspired and therefore infallible. The Seven Ecumenical Synods, which approved all of the Canons in the Rudder, were collectively inspired by God, not the opinion of each father present. Note: the Rudder contents are available for your use on this blog.
These sacred Canons are ignored by many, even though they are vital for the preservation of our Faith. Without its Rudder, the Church drifts into turbulent waters with no one in charge, leaving the faithful in danger.
St.Nicodemos, Compliler of
St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite together with Agapios a monk, spent countless years in compiling the Rudder, and making it available. We produced the English translation that is on this blog. It is not their composition for the contents have been handed down to us from the ages, which they collected and compiled.St. Nicodemos did do something very important in presenting his interpretations, which you will find are useful and helpful. The first 85 Canons of the Rudder are from the Holy Apostles which dates back to right after the next period after Christ.
Some scorners of the Sacred Canons, quote, then contradict a few of them, and in doing so, heap scorn upon them all. Going to Church on Sunday is not enough, for there is much more to Christian life, which the Rudder will help you to understand. Select what you require and what interests you. The Rudder is for the functioning of the entire Church, covering most everything, as you can see by the partial list below.Without knowledge of the sacred Canons, it is not easy to understand the what and why and how of everyday Christian life, especially for members of the laity, which always do not educate themselves into the glory and truth of Orthodoxy, which is not just a religion, but the revelation from heaven, the Holy Church, the Body of Christ.
The following words are contained the Rudder and speak of it very sternly.
“That the divine Canons must be kept strictly by all. For those who fail to keep them are made liable to horrible penalties.”
“These instructions regarding Canons have been enjoined upon you by us, O Bishops. If you adhere to them you shall be saved, and shall have peace; but, if you disobey them, you shall be punished, and shall have perpetual war with one another, thus paying the penalty deserved for heedlessness.”
(The Apostles in their epilogue to the Canons)
That the sacred Canons should be studied and understood according to our ability, can readily be seen by the subject matter, which concerns everyday life. If you just peruse through this wonderful guide of the Church and its members, it is the Church's Rudder, you will see how precious and valuable it is. True happiness will never be found in this world, unless we have God as our Father and the Church as our Mother.
A small fraction of the contents
What marriages are allowed/forbidden
Who can become a Bishop
Who can be ordained Priest
Fasts; how to be kept
Killing during war
Who can sponsor a child at Baptism
God’s action in His Church
Who can be sponsor at a wedding
Holy Communion the benefits/dangers
Vows that are permissible/forbidden
When fasting is forbidden
What is a schism
What heresy is
Mysteries outside the Church
Orthodox baptism not repeatable
Regarding Holy Communion
How we “die” in Baptism
The blessing of holy icons
Weddings forbidden during fasts
Duties of husbands and wives toward each other
Seizing a woman by force
Clergyman’s mysteries valid unless deposed
Oaths are forbidden
Who can be ordained
Not “original sin” but “propotorical sin”
No Church outside Orthodoxy
Parents – if child dies
Perjury– very serious sin
On this blog, Click on the Rudder to view its contents.