The Holy Orthodox Christian Church: Its Faith and Life



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A Brief Introduction to the Holy Orthodox Church

Celebration of the Divine Liturgy

The Orthodox Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ and is the living manifestation of His presence in the history of mankind. The most conspicuous characteristics of Orthodoxy are its rich liturgical life and its faithfulness to the apostolic tradition. It is believed by Orthodox Christians that their Church has preserved the tradition and continuity of the ancient Church in its fullness in contrast to denominations which have departed from the common tradition of the Church of the first 10 centuries. Today the Orthodox Church numbers approximately 300 million Christians who follow the faith and practices that were defined by the first seven ecumenical councils.

The word orthodox (“right belief and right glory”) has traditionally been used, in the Greek-speaking Christian world, to designate communities, or individuals, who preserved the true faith (as defined by those first seven ecumenical councils), as opposed to those who were declared heretical. The official designation of the church in its liturgical and canonical texts is “the Orthodox Catholic Church” (gr. catholicos = universal).

How Orthodox Christians view the Church

Christ Made Without Hands

"The definition of the Church, Her life, Her purpose, Her spirit, Her plan, Her ways, all these are given in the wondrous Person of the God-man Christ. Hence, the mission of the Church is to make every one of her faithful, organically and in person, one with the Person of Christ; to turn their sense of self into a sense of Christ, and their self-knowledge (self-awareness) into Christ-knowledge (Christ-awareness); for their life to become the life in Christ and for Christ; their personality to become personality in Christ and for Christ; that within them might live, not they themselves, but Christ in them (Gal. 2:10)."

"The Church is the personhood of the God-human Christ, a God-human organism and not a human organization. The Church is indivisible, as is the person of the God-human, as is the body of the God-human. The Church is eternity incarnated within the boundaries of time and space. She is here in this world but she is not of this world (John 18:36). She is in the world in order to raise it on high where she herself has her origin. The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Spirit—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, œcumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. ‘There is neither Greek nor Jew, their is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:28), because 'Christ is all, and in all.'"

excerpt by Blessed Fr. Justin Popivich, from The Inward Mission of our Church

Various Articles on the Orthodox Christian Faith

We have endeavored to include many useful articles in this section to introduce the reader to the life (the "life-creating" Holy Trinity) of the Orthodox Christian Church.

Introduction to Orthodoxy

What is Orthodoxy?, by Archbishop Averky
The Way Into the Kingdom of Heaven, by St. Innocent of Alaska

The Orthodox Church

Christianity or The Church?, by New Martyr Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky)
The Church is One
, by Alexei Khomiakov (1804-1860)
The Concept of the Church of Christ on Earth, by Fr. Michael Pomazansky
The Attributes of the Church, by Blessed Father Justin Popovich

Orthodox Prayer and Spiritual Life

Are We Seeking Christ?, by St. John of Kronstadt
Directions on the Spiritual Life, by St. Dorotheos of Gaza
Repentance, by St. Ephraim the Syrian
The Three Powers of the Soul and Their Curative Exercises, by St. Theophan the Recluse
The Inward Mission of the Church, by Blessed Father Justin Popovich
A Wonderful Revelation to the World, by St. Seraphim of Sarov
On Humility, by Mother Alexandra; formerly Her Royal Highness, lleana, Princess of Romania
Introduction to the Jesus Prayer, by Mother Alexandra; formerly H. R. H., lleana, Princess of Romania
On Practicing the Jesus Prayer, by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
The Jesus Prayer, by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
The Ascetic Podvig of Living in the World, by Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York

Lives of the Saints

Introduction to the Lives of the Saints, by Blessed Father Justin Popovich
On Reading the Holy Fathers, by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

On Fasting

The Meaning Of Fasting For Man, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

The Holy Scriptures

How to Read the Bible and Why, by Blessed Father Justin Popovich
On Holy Scripture, by Elder Cleopa of Romania
How to Read the Holy Scriptures, by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose
Sola Scriptura: In the Vanity of Their Minds, by Fr. John Whiteford

Orthodox Liturgical Life

A Glossary of Orthodox Liturgical Terms

Iconography

A Discourse in Iconography, by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco

Dogmatics

Original Sin According to Saint Paul, by John S. Romanides

Orthodoxy and the West

The Papacy: Its Historic Origin and Primitive Relations with the Eastern Churches, by Abbé Guettée
On the Western Confessions of Faith, by Alexei Khomiakov
What is the Difference Between Orthodoxy and Western Confessions?, by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)
Papism as the Oldest Protestantism, by Blessed Father Justin Popovich
Sola Scriptura: In the Vanity of Their Minds, by Fr. John Whiteford

Please visit the following Orthodox Christian websites for more useful articles and detail

The Orthodox Christian Information Center – The definitive site for information about Orthodoxy. If you could only visit one Orthodox website... this would be the one.

Bishop Alexander's Website – Orthodox articles and services in English, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This is a growing, unique, and incredibly useful site.

Orthodox Net – many articles, sermons, catechetical questions and answers, quotes from the fathers of the Church, as well as it's on-line directories, Orthodox links, and more.




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