What is Orthodox Christianity
The Orthodox Christian Church is the one established by Christ and His Apostles - the very same worship, theology, Tradition, and Faith.
The Orthodox Christian Church is the direct descendant of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It was founded on the original day of Pentecost, as recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts. Orthodoxy is the repository of the fundamental faith, spirit, and ethos of the Apostles, as preserved in Scripture and other divinely inspired sources of Church Tradition.
The Trinity is the heart of Orthodox belief because it preserves God in His fullness: the Father who loves us, the Son who saves us, and the Holy Spirit who abides within us.
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine and that neither nature is compromised by the other. This is essential to a full and proper understanding of His Incarnation and Resurrection.
The sacraments, or mysteries, of the Orthodox Church symbolize God’s relationship with and His activity in all of creation. Most importantly, the sacraments are ceremonies which transmit the Grace of God to all members of the Church, building our relationship with God and with one another.
“The Holy Spirit works through the Sacraments. He leads us to Christ who unites us with the Father. By participating in the Sacraments, we grow closer to God and to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
The Orthodox Church celebrates the seven sacraments of baptism, chrismation, confession, Holy Eucharist, marriage, ordination, and Holy Unction.
Baptism and Chrismation
The Feast of Theophany - Jan. 6
When the Lord was baptized in the river Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Lord, glory to You!
The sacrament of Baptism incorporates us into the Church, the Body of Christ, and is our introduction into the life of the Holy Trinity. Water is a natural symbol of cleansing and newness of life. Through the three-fold immersion in the waters of Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, one dies to the old ways of sin and is born to the new life in Christ. Baptism is one's public identification with Christ's death and His victorious Resurrection.
Following the custom of the early Church, Orthodoxy encourages the baptism of infants. From the day of their baptism, children are expected to mature in the life of the Spirit, through their family and the Church.
Godparents are a vital part in the baptism of an infant. They are spiritually bound to bringing their god child into Orthodoxy and to pattern their path in the faith along with their family.
Chrismation is done immediately during the baptism. The Priest anoints various parts of the body of the newly-baptized with Holy Oil saying, "The seal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Oil, which is blessed by the bishop, is a sign of consecration and strength.
The icon of the Last Supper depicts the original Holy Eucharist when “Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Mt. 26:26-28. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Cor. 11:26.
Because Jesus said, “this is my body…this is my blood,” Orthodox believe that the elements of bread and wine prepared for the Eucharist become the very Body and very Blood of Christ. That is why receiving the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is not to be taken lightly. It is reserved for those confirmed in the Orthodox Faith, who have also prepared themselves by being at peace with everyone, and with prayer, fasting, and a recent confession.
CONFESSION is the sacrament through which our sins are forgiven, and our relationship with God is strengthened and restored. According to Orthodox teaching, the penitent confess to God and is forgiven by God. The Priest is the sacramental witness who represents both Christ and his people. The Priest is viewed not as a judge, but as a physician and guide. Confession can take place on any number of occasions. Confession is a necessary preparation for Communion.