OUR ORTHODOX FAITH
Orthodoxy is not our possession but it is the true faith existing in heaven and on earth headed by the Godman Jesus Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit, brought to us by the Apostles, defended and defined by the Fathers and ecumenical Synods, numerous Saints and Confessors, and preserved by all the faithful. We cannot be faithful and treat the Church like a candy store, choosing what we like and rejecting what we dislike. This may take place in other religions but in Orthodoxy we do not have choices for everything it contains is holy and true. The objective of our Faith is to become sanctified and to share in the glory of heaven with all the Saints and Martyrs. In the faith we are always being sanctified and rendered into sons and daughters of God. Peace rules our lives and the continuous struggle for holiness is our daily practice of piety.
The Church’s originate when Christ responded to Peter’s who declaration: “You are the Christ Son of the living God: Christ replied: “Upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The Orthodox Church remains this church and has preserved all the teaching from the very beginning, and established the dogmas held by the Orthodox Church, which are diligently preserved and guarded by the Holy Spirit.
During the 2,000 year history of the Church, there have been times of great faith and zeal for truth, and times when the faithful were mostly asleep, or in a state of indifference. This is the type of era we live in today, but there are small areas where Orthodoxy flourishes. Many leaders of the Church are disinterested and even attacking her truths from within. But the Lord will always protect and preserve the Church which He established.
There is no superfluity for everything which the Church teaches is of great importance and the Church is the only means of salvation and eternal life available. If we belong to the Church and remain completely disinterested, we can expect no rewards but certain punishment. The Lord did not offer but commanded that we come to Him in faith, for he is the God-man and the purpose of our creation. Jesus Christ teaches us that we must become like Him, saying: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble in my heart.” This is our greatest responsibility while we are on this earth. If we live mostly for worldly pleasures and just “go to Church” and fail to change ourselves into Christ’s image, we are far from salvation and eternal life.
Baptism is Orthodoxy’s unique form of entering the Church founded by Christ and is extremely important, for He established this mystery. Only Orthodox Baptism is performed by three immersions and emmersions in which we die in Christ and arise in His glorious resurrection. We are born from above, that is spiritually and it is a true death of the old man of sin and life in the new man our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are brought into the Church without Baptism are being cheated out of the greatest incoming treasure possible – death into Christ’s death and arising into His Resurrection. They are unbaptized are still in need of baptism because there is no baptism outside of the Church. The Holy Spirit sanctifies Orthodox waters but not the waters of heresy.
What is a heretic but one who has no connection with the Church or its head and guide. All outside the Church are disconnected from divine grace which sanctifies the Mysteries through which she sanctifies her faithful. Behind every heresy is the Devil who tries to corrupt the Church with his false teaching and thus render her impotent. Those who promote heresy have abandoned truth and grace and accepted falsehood and emptiness which cannot sanctify anything remaining powerless to all goodness.
The Church will always remain pure and undefiled because she is divine and human like her Head and this is what distinguishes her from all the groups that call themselves churches. The Lord did not found multiple churches for He said: “Upon this rock I will build my church.” All Scripture refers to the Church singularly as the Lord did. So the idea of many different churches is foreign and thus they remain defiled by the evil one and his helpers. The Church also supplies the necessary food and drink so that the faithful are fed with divine nourishment making them able to do the work of the Church which is to go forth and bring in new members continually, who will baptized and anointed.
When we mention that we are going to church this does not refer to the building which is incorrectly referred to as the church but is more correctly called (na-os) or “the temple.” The “church” refers to the gathering of people in the temple. The word used for church in the original Greek is “ecclesia.”