Our Faith
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Our Faith
Eastern Christianity
Orthodox
Fundamental Tenants of the Orthodox Church
Creed
Sacraments
Church Calendar
Divine Liturgy
Major Feast Days

Our Faith

An ever-growing number of people from various backgrounds are becoming interested in the Orthodox Church. These individuals are discovering the ancient faith and rich traditions of the Orthodox Church. They have been attracted by its mystical vision of God and His kingdom, by the beauty of worship, by the purity of Christian faith, and by continuity with the past. These are only some of the treasures of the Church which has a history reaching back to the time of the Apostles.

In our Western Hemisphere, the Orthodox Church has been developing into a valuable presence and distinctive witness for more than two hundred years. The first Greek Orthodox Church arrived in the New World in 1768 establishing a colony near the present city of St. Augustine, Florida. One of the original building in which these immigrants gathered for religious services is still standing. It has recently been transformed into St. Photios Shrine by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The Shrine, named in memory of a great missionary of the Orthodox Church, honors those first Orthodox immigrants. The chapel services as a national religious landmark, bearing witness to the presence of Orthodoxy on the American Continent were the Russian fur traders in the Aleutian Islands. They too made a great contribution.

The Orthodox Church in this country owes lots of its origin to the devotion of so many immigrants from lands such as Greece, Russia, the Middle East, and the Balkans. In the great wave of immigration of the 19th and 20th centuries, Orthodox Christians from many lands and cultures came to America in search of freedom and opportunity. Like the first Apostles, they carried with them a precious heritage and gift. To the New World they brought the ancient faith of the Orthodox Church.

Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of their membership is composed of people who have been born in America. Following the practice of the early Church, Orthodoxy treasures the various cultures of its people; The Orthodox Church Welcomes All!

There are about 5 million Orthodox in this country. They are grouped into nearly a dozen ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The largest is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which has about 500 parishes throughout the United States. Undoubted, the primate of the Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, has been chiefly responsible for acquainting many non-orthodox with the treasures of Orthodoxy. His selfless ministry, has been one of devotion and vision.

Eastern Christianity

The Orthodox Church embodies and expresses the rich spiritual treasures of Eastern Christianity. It should not be forgotten that the Gospel of Christ was first preached and the first Christian communities were established in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It was in the Eastern regions of the old Roman Empire that the Christian faith matured in its struggle against paganism and heresy. There, the great Fathers lived and taught. It was in the cities of the East that the Fundamentals of our Faith were proclaimed at the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

Orthodox

Christians of the Eastern Churches call themselves Orthodox. This description comes to us from the fifth century and has two meaning. The first definition means "true worship" or "correct worship". The second description refers to the fact that the Orthodox Church has maintained and handed down the Christian faith, free from error and distortion from the days of the Apostles.

The word Catholic is also used the describe the Orthodox Church and means universal. This description dating back to the second century. The Church includes people of all races and cultures. It also affirms that the Church has preserved the fullness of the Christian Faith.

Fundamental Tenants of the Orthodox Church

1. The Orthodox Church has Two Great Sources of Authority

Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition

Holy Scripture of the writing of both the New and the Old Testaments. The New Testament reveals the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ, and His sacred teachings the we are charged to follow. The Old Testament is a history of the Hebrew people. It contains, among other sacred writing, the prophecies and writing of the prophets that foretold the coming of the Messiah. It therefore serves as an introduction to the revelation and the saving message of the New Testament.

Holy Tradition, of which Holy Scripture is a part, includes the writing, teaching, acts of the apostles, Saints, Martyrs, and Fathers of the Church, and Her liturgical and sacramental traditions throughout the ages, the oral tradition of the early Church and the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils. All of this collective wisdom and experience thorough the centuries are combined to form this second great source of sacred authority.

2. The Creed

The Creed contains the Church's basic summary of doctrinal truth that which we adhere to as Orthodox Christians. It consists of the twelve articles of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, or the "Pistevo," which is recited at each Divine Liturgy:




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3. Sacraments

The Sacraments are visible means by which the invisible Grace of the Holy Spirit is imparted to us.

  • Baptism
  • Chrismation
  • Confession
  • Penance
  • Communion
  • Matrimony
  • Ordination
  • Unction (anointing of the sick)

4. The Church Calendar

The Church calendar begin on September 1st ends on August 31st. Each day is sacred for the Orthodox Christian. The Church venerates many saint and/or sacred events in the life of the Church each and every day of the year. Of these, and Great and Holy Pascha (or Easter) is by far the most important.

5.The Divine Liturgy

The central worship service of the Church is the Divine Liturgy which is celebrated each Sunday morning and on all Feast days. The Divine Liturgy is also the means by which we achieve union with Jesus Christ and unity with each other though Holy Communion.

The Major Feast Days
Feast Event FeastDay
Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple Noverember 21
Christmas (Nativity of Jesus Christ) Decemeber 25
Epiphany (Baptism of Christ) January 6
Presentation of Christ in the Temple February 2
Annunciation (Evangelismos) March 25
Pascha (Easter) (Varies from year to year)
Ascension: (40 Days after Pascha)
Pentecost (50 Days after Pascha)
Transifguration of Christ August 6
Dormition of the Theotokos (Kimissis) August 15