The Eastern Greek Orthodox Church
His All Holiness Bartholomew: Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Organization and hierarchy of Autocephalous churches in fellowship with the Patriarch of Constantinople.
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GOD THE FATHER:
GOD THE FATHER is the fountainhead of the Holy Trinity. The Scriptures reveal the one God is Three Persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- eternally sharing the one divine nature. From the Father the Son is begotten before all ages and all time (Psalm 2:7; II Corinthians 11:31). It is from the Father that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds (John 15:26). God the Father created all things through the Son, in the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1 and 2; John 1:3; Job 33:4), and we are called to worship Him (John 4:23). The Father loves us and sent His Son to give us everlasting life (John 3:16).
JESUS CHRIST is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, eternally born of the Father. He became man, and thus He is at once fully God and fully man. His coming to earth was foretold in the Old Testament by the prophets. Because Jesus Christ is at the heart of Christianity, the Orthodox Church has given more attention to knowing Him than to anything or anyone else.
In reciting the Nicene Creed, Orthodox Christians regularly affirm the historic faith concerning Jesus as they say, "I believe... in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end."
THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT is one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity and is one in essence with the Father. Orthodox Christians repeatedly confess, "And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified..." He is called the "promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4), given by Christ as a gift to the Church, to empower the Church for service to God (Acts 1:8), to place God's love in our hearts (Romans 5:5), and to impart spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:7-13) and virtues (Galatians 5:22, 23) for Christian life and witness. Orthodox Christians believe the biblical promise that the Holy Spirit is given through chrismation (anointing) at baptism (Acts 2:38). We are to grow in our experience of the Holy Spirit for the rest of our lives.
INCARNATION refers to Jesus Christ coming "in the flesh". The eternal Son of God the Father assumed to Himself a complete human nature from the Virgin Mary. He was (and is) one divine Person, fully possessing from God the Father the entirety of the divine nature, and in His coming in the flesh fully possessing a human nature from the Virgin Mary. By His Incarnation, the Son forever possesses two natures in His one Person. The Son of God, limitless in His divine nature, voluntarily and willingly accepted limitation in His humanity in which He experienced hunger, thirst, fatigue -- and ultimately, death. The Incarnation is indispensable to Christianity -- there is no Christianity without it. The Scriptures record, "...every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God" (I John 4:3). By His Incarnation, the Son of God redeemed human nature, a redemption made accessible to all who are joined to Him in His glorified humanity.
SIN literally means to "miss the mark." As St. Paul writes, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We sin when we pervert what God has given us as good, falling short of His purposes for us. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1, 2), leaving us spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). To save us, the Son of God assumed our humanity, and being without sin "He condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3). In His mercy, God forgives our sins when we confess them and turn from them, giving us strength to overcome sin in our lives. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
SALVATION is the divine gift through which men and women are delivered from sin and death, united to Christ, and brought into His eternal kingdom. Those who heard St. Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost asked what they must do to be saved. He answered, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Salvation begins with these three steps: 1) repent, 2) be baptized, and 3) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. To repent means to change our mind about how we have been, to turn from our sin and to commit ourselves to Christ. To be baptized means to be born again by being joined into union with Christ. And to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit means to receive the Spirit Who empowers us to enter a new life in Christ, to be nurtured in the Church, and to be conformed to God's image.
Salvation demands faith in Jesus Christ. People cannot save themselves by their own good works. Salvation is "faith working through love". It is an ongoing, life-long process. Salvation is past tense in that, through the death and Resurrection of Christ, we have been saved. It is present tense, for we are "being saved" by our active participation through faith in our union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is also future, for we must yet be saved at His glorious Second Coming.
BAPTISM is the way in which a person is actually united to Christ. The experience of salvation is initiated in the waters of baptism. The Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 6: 1-6 that in baptism we experience Christ's death and resurrection. In it our sins are truly forgiven and we are energized by our union with Christ to live a holy life. The Orthodox Church practices baptism by full immersion.
Currently, some consider baptism to be only an "outward sign" of belief in Christ. This innovation has no historical or biblical precedent. Others reduce it to a mere perfunctory obedience to Christ's command (cf. Matthew 28:19, 20). Still others, ignoring the Bible completely, reject baptism as a vital factor in salvation. Orthodoxy maintains that these contemporary innovations rob sincere people of the most important assurances that baptism provides -- namely that they have been united to Christ and are part of His Church.
NEW BIRTH is receipt of new life. It is how we gain entrance into God's kingdom and His Church. Jesus said, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). From its beginning, the Church has taught that the "water" is the baptismal water and the "Spirit" is the Holy Spirit. The new birth occurs in baptism where we die with Christ, are buried with Him, and are raised with Him in the newness of His resurrection, being joined into union with Him in His glorified humanity (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3, 4). The idea that being "born again" is a religious experience disassociated from baptism is a recent one and has no biblical basis whatsoever.
JUSTIFICATION is a word used in the Scriptures to mean that in Christ we are forgiven and actually made righteous in our living. Justification is not a once-for-all, instantaneous pronouncement guaranteeing eternal salvation, regardless of how wickedly a person might live from that point on. Neither is it merely a legal declaration that an unrighteous person is righteous. Rather, justification is a living, dynamic, day-to-day reality for the one who follows Christ. The Christian actively pursues a righteous life in the grace and power of God granted to all who continue to believe in Him.
SANCTIFICATION is being set apart for God. It involves us in the process of being cleansed and made holy by Christ in the Holy Spirit. We are called to be saints and to grow into the likeness of God. Having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, we actively participate in sanctification. We cooperate with God, we work together with Him, that we may know Him, becoming by grace what He is by nature.
THE BIBLE is the divinely inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16), and is a crucial part of God's self-revelation to the human race. The Old Testament tells the history of that revelation from Creation through the Age of the Prophets. The New Testament records the birth and life of Jesus as well as the writings of His Apostles. It also includes some of the history of the early Church and especially sets forth the Church's apostolic doctrine. Though these writings were read in the Churches from the time they first appeared, the earliest listings of all the New Testament books exactly as we know them today, is found in the 33rd Canon of a local council held at Carthage in 318, and in a fragment of St. Athanasius of Alexandria's Festal Letter in 367. Both sources list all of the books of the New Testament without exception. A local council, probably held at Rome in 382, set forth a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old and New Testaments. The Scriptures are at the very heart of Orthodox worship and devotion.
WORSHIP is to render praise, glory, and thanksgiving to God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All humanity is called to worship God. Worship is more than being in the "great-out-of-doors", or listening to a sermon, or singing a hymn. God can be known in His creation, but that doesn't constitute worship. And as helpful as sermons may be, they can never offer a proper substitute for worship. Most prominent in Orthodox worship is the corporate praise, thanksgiving, and glory given to God by the Church. This worship is consummated in intimate communion with God at His Holy Table.
As is said in the Liturgy, "To Thee is due all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen." In that worship we touch and experience His eternal kingdom, the age to come, and we join in adoration with the heavenly hosts. We experience the glory of fulfillment of all things in Christ, as truly all in all.
EUCHARIST means "thanksgiving" and early became a synonym for Holy Communion. The Eucharist is the center of worship in the Orthodox Church. Because Jesus said of the bread and wine at the Last Supper, "This is my body", "This is my blood", and "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22: 19,20), His followers believe -- and do -- nothing less. In the Eucharist, we partake mystically of Christ's Body and Blood, which impart His life and strength to us. The celebration of the Eucharist was a regular part of the Church's life from its beginning. Early Christians began calling the Eucharist "the medicine of immortality" because they recognized the great grace of God that was received in it.
LITURGY is a term used to describe the shape or form of the Church's corporate worship of God. The word liturgy derives from a Greek word which means "the common work". All the biblical references to worship in heaven involve liturgy.
In the Old Testament, God ordered a liturgy, or specific pattern of worship. We find it described in detail in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. In the New Testament we find the Church carrying over the worship of the Old Testament Israel as expressed in both the synagogue and the temple, adjusting them in keeping with their fulfillment in Christ. The Orthodox Liturgy, which developed over many centuries, still maintains that ancient shape of worship. The main elements in the Liturgy include hymns, the reading and proclamation of the Gospel, prayers, and the Eucharist itself. For Orthodox Christians, the expressions "The Liturgy" or "Divine Liturgy" refer to the eucharistic rite instituted by Christ Himself at the Last (Mystical) Supper.
COMMUNION OF SAINTS
COMMUNION OF SAINTS: When Christians depart this life, they remain a vital part of the Church, the body of Christ. They are alive in the Lord and "registered in heaven" (Hebrews 12:23). They worship God (Revelation 4:10) and inhabit His heavenly dwelling places (John 14:2). In the Eucharist we come "to the city of the living God" and join in communion with the saints in our worship of God (Hebrews 12:22). They are that "great cloud of witnesses" which surrounds us, and we seek to imitate them in running "the race set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). Rejecting or ignoring the communion of saints is a denial of the fact that those who have died in Christ are still part of his holy Church.
CONFESSION is the open admission of known sins before God and man. It means literally "to agree with" God concerning our sins. St. James the Apostle admonishes us to confess our sins to God before the elders, or priests, as they are called today (James 5:16). We are also exhorted to confess our sins directly to God (I John 1:9). The Orthodox Church has always followed the New Testament practices of confession before a priest as well as private confession to the Lord. Confession is one of the most significant means of repenting, and receiving assurance that even our worst sins are truly forgiven. It is also one of our most powerful aids to forsaking and overcoming those sins.
DISCIPLINE may become necessary to maintain purity and holiness in the Church and to encourage repentance in those who have not responded to the admonition of brothers and sisters in Christ, and of the Church, to forsake their sins. Church discipline often centers around exclusion from receiving communion (excommunication). The New Testament records how St. Paul ordered the discipline of excommunication for an unrepentant man involved in sexual relations with his father's wife (I Corinthians 5:1-5). The Apostle John warned that we are not to receive into our homes those who willfully reject the truth of Christ (II John 9,10). Throughout her history, the Orthodox Church has exercised discipline with compassion when it is needed, always to help bring a needed change of heart and to aid God's people to live pure and holy lives, never as a punishment.
MARY is called Theotokos, meaning "God-bearer" or "the Mother of God", because she bore the Son of God in her womb and from her He took His humanity. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, recognized this reality when she called Mary, "the Mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:43). Mary said of herself, "All generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48). So we, Orthodox, in our generation, call her blessed. Mary lived a chaste and holy life, and we honor her highly as the model of holiness, the first of the redeemed, the Mother of the new humanity in her Son. It is bewildering to Orthodox Christians that many professing Christians who claim to believe the Bible never call Mary blessed nor honor her who bore and raised God the Son in His human flesh.
PRAYER TO THE SAINTS
PRAYER TO THE SAINTS is encouraged by the Orthodox Church. Why? Because physical death is not a defeat for a Christian. It is a glorious passage into heaven. The Christian does not cease to be a part of the Church at death. God forbid! Nor is he set aside, idle until the day of judgement.
The True Church is composed of all who are in Christ -- in heaven and on earth. It is not limited in membership to those presently alive. Those in heaven with Christ are alive, in communion with God, worshipping God, doing their part in the body of Christ. They actively pray to God for all those in the Church -- and perhaps, indeed, for the whole world (Ephesians 6:8; Revelation 8:3). So we pray to the saints who have departed this life, seeking their prayers, even as we ask Christian friends on earth to pray for us.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION has been a watershed issue since the second century, not as a mere dogma, but as crucial to the preservation of the faith. Certain false teachers came on the scene insisting they were authoritative representatives of the Christian Church. Claiming authority from God by appealing to special revelations, some were even inventing lineages of teachers supposedly going back to Christ or the Apostles. In response, the early Church insisted there was an authoritative apostolic succession passed down from generation to generation. They recorded that actual lineage, showing how its clergy were ordained by those chosen by the successors of the Apostles chosen by Christ Himself.
Apostolic succession is an indispensable factor in preserving Church unity. Those in the succession are accountable to it, and are responsible to ensure all teaching and practice in the Church is in keeping with Her apostolic foundations. Mere personal conviction that one's teaching is correct can never be considered adequate proof of accuracy. Today, critics of apostolic succession are those who stand outside that historic succession and seek a self-identity with the early Church only. The burgeoning number of denominations in the world can be accounted for in large measure by a rejection of apostolic succession.
COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH
COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH: A monumental conflict (recorded in Acts 15) arose in the early Church over legalism, the keeping of Jewish laws by the Christians, as means of salvation. "So the apostles and elders came together [in council] to consider the matter" (Acts 15:6). This council, held in Jerusalem, set the pattern for the subsequent calling of councils to settle problems. There have been hundreds of such councils -- local and regional -- over the centuries of the history of the Church, and seven councils specifically designated "Eucumenical", that is, considered to apply to the whole Church. Aware that God has spoken through the Ecumenical Councils, the Orthodox Church looks particularly to them for authoritative teaching in regard to the faith and practice of the Church.
CREED comes from the Latin credo, "I believe". From the earliest days of the Church, creeds have been living confessions of what Christians believe and not simply formal, academic, Church pronouncements. Such confessions of faith appear as early as the New Testament, where, for example, St. Paul quotes a creed to remind Timothy, "God...was revealed in the flesh..." (I Timothy 3:16). The creeds were approved by Church councils, usually to give a concise statement of the truth in the face of the invasion of heresy.
The most important creed in Christendom is the Nicene Creed, the product of two Ecumenical Councils in the fourth century. Delineated in the midst of a life-and-death controversy, it contains the essence of New Testament teaching about the Holy Trinity, guarding that life-giving truth against those who would change the very nature of God and reduce Jesus Christ to a created being, rather than God in the flesh. The creeds give us a sure interpretation of the Scriptures against those who would distort them to support their own religious schemes. Called the "symbol of faith" and confessed in many of the services of the Church, the Nicene Creed constantly reminds the Orthodox Christian of what he personally believes, keeping his faith on track.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: When the young Church was getting under way, God poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers, giving them spiritual gifts to build up the Church and to serve each other. Among the specific gifts of the Spirit mentioned in the New Testament are: apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, pastoring, teaching, healing, helps, administrations, knowledge, wisdom, tongues, interpretation of tongues. These and other spiritual gifts are recognized in the Orthodox Church. The need for them varies with the times. The gifts of the Spirit are most in evidence in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.
SECOND COMING: Amid the current speculation in some corners of Christendom surrounding the Second Coming of Christ and how it may come to pass, it is comforting to know that the beliefs of the Orthodox Church are basic. Orthodox Christians confess with conviction that Jesus Christ "will come again to judge the living and the dead", and that His "kingdom will have no end". Orthodox preaching does not attempt to predict God's prophetic schedule, but to encourage Christian people to have their lives in order so that they might be confident before Him when He comes (I John 2:28).
HEAVEN is the place of God's throne, beyond time and space. It is the abode of God's angels, as well as of the saints who have passed from this life. We pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven..." Though Christians live in this world, they belong to the kingdom of heaven, and that kingdom is their true home. But heaven is not only for the future. Neither is it some distant place billions of light years away in a nebulous "great beyond". For the Orthodox, heaven is part of Christian life and worship. The very architecture of an Orthodox Church building is designed so that the building itself participates in the reality of heaven. The Eucharist is heavenly worship, heaven on earth. St. Paul teaches that we are raised up with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). At the end of the age, a new heaven and a new earth will be revealed (Revelation 21:1).
HELL, unpopular as it is to modern people, is real. The Orthodox Church understands hell as a place of eternal torment for those who willfully reject the grace of God. Our Lord once said, "If your hand makes you sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched -- where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44-45). He challenged the religious hypocrites with the question: "How can you escape the condemnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33). His answer is, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). There is a day of judgement coming, and there is a place of punishment for those who have hardened their hearts against God. It does make a difference how we will live this life. Those who of their own free will reject the grace and mercy of God must forever bear the consequences of that choice.
CREATION: Orthodox Christians confess God as Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1, the Nicene Creed). Creation did not just come into existence by itself. God made it all. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God..." (Hebrews 11:3). Orthodox Christians do not believe the Bible to be a science textbook on creation, as some mistakenly maintain, but rather to be God's revelation of Himself and His salvation. Also, we do not view science textbooks, helpful though they may be, as God's revelation. The may contain both known facts and speculative theory, but they are not infallible. Orthodox Christians refuse to build an unnecessary and artificial wall between science and the Christian faith. Rather, they understand honest scientific investigation as a potential encouragement to faith, for all truth is from God.
ECUMENISM: One has to welcome rejection of the age-old separation of Christians, but only if this is done with the objective of disclosing the treasures of Orthodoxy, to bring those who have fallen away from the Church back to unity in Orthodoxy.
The attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad toward ecumenism has always been of a sober, strictly Orthodox character, in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Fathers. The outlook of our Church was particularly well-defined in a statement issued on December 31, 1931, when the Russian Church Abroad appointed its representative to the Committee for the Continuation of the World Conference on Faith and Order: "Preserving the Faith is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Synod of Bishops confesses that the Church has never been divided. The issue lies only in who does and who does not belong to Her. Moreover, the Synod of Bishops fervently welcomes all attempts by the heterodox to study the teaching of Christ about the Church, in the hope that through such investigation, especially with the participation of representatives of the Holy Orthodox Church, they will eventually arrive at the conviction that the Orthodox Church, which is the `pillar and the ground of truth' (I Timothy 3:15), has fully and without any adulteration retained the doctrine taught by Christ the Savior to His disciples."
The Ecumenical Movement takes as its guiding principle the Protestant view of the Church. Protestants hold that there is no single truth and no single visible Church, but that each of the many Christian denominations possesses a particle of the truth, and that these relative truths can, by means of dialogue, lead to the One Truth and the One Church. One of the ways of attaining this unity, as perceived by the ideologues of the Ecumenical Movement, is the holding of joint prayers and religious services, so that in time communion from a common chalice (intercommunion) may be achieved.
Orthodoxy can never accept such an ecclesiology. It believes and bears witness that there is no need to assemble particles of the truth, since the Orthodox Church is the repository of the fullness of the Truth, which was given to Her on the day of Holy Pentecost.
For the Orthodox, joint prayer and Communion at the liturgy is an expression of an already existing unity within the bounds of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. St. Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century) concisely expressed this: "Our Faith is in accord with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist confirms our Faith." The Holy Fathers of the Church teach that the members of the Church comprise the Church -- the Body of Christ -- because in the Eucharist they partake of the Body and the Blood of Christ. Outside the Eucharist and Communion there is no Church. Communing together would be an admission that all those receiving Communion belong to the One Apostolic Church, whereas the realities of Christian history even of our time unfortunately point out the deep dogmatic and ecclesiastical division of the Christian world.
ABORTION is the termination of a pregnancy by taking the life of the baby before it comes to full term. The Scriptures teach, "For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb" (Jeremiah 1:5). When a child is aborted, a human being is killed. For the Christian, all children, born or unborn, are precious in God's sight, and are a gift from Him. Even in the rare case in which a choice must be made between the life of the child and the life of the mother, decision-making must be based upon the recognition that the lives of two human persons are at stake.
CULTS: The word "cult" has several meanings. The usage to which we refer designates a group of people who focus on a religious doctrine which deviates from the tradition of the historic Church as revealed by Jesus Christ, established by His Apostles, and guarded by the seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church. A cult usually forms around an individual who proclaims a heresy as truth. The error itself assures the separation of the group from historic Christianity. Many cults claim the Bible as their basis, but they alter the historic interpretation of Scripture to persist in their own idea. Cults may do some things that are good (e.g. care for the poor, emphasize the family) and thus at least appear, to casual observers, to be part of true Christianity. St. Paul's counsel on cults is: "From such withdraw yourself" (I Timothy 6:5). The danger of the cult is that it removes those in it from the life of Christ and the Church, where the blessings and grace of God are found. All cults die; the Church lives on.
MARRIAGE in the Orthodox Church is forever. It is not reduced to an exchange of vows or the establishment of a legal contract between the bride and groom. On the contrary, it is God joining a man and a woman into "one flesh" in a sense similar to the Church being joined to Christ (Ephesians 5:31, 32). The success of marriage cannot depend on mutual human promises, but on the promises and blessing of God. In the Orthodox marriage rite, the bride and groom offer their lives to Christ and to each other -- literally as crowned martyrs.
DIVORCE: While extending love and mercy to divorcees, the Orthodox Church is grieved by the tragedy and pain divorce causes. Though marriage is understood as a sacrament, and thus accomplished by the grace of God, and permanent, the Church does not deal with divorce legalistically, but with compassion. After appropriate pastoral counsel, divorce may be allowed when avenues for reconciliation have been exhausted. If there is a remarriage, the service for a second marriage includes prayers offering repentance for the earlier divorce, asking God's forgiveness, and protection for the new union.
PRE-MARITAL SEX: The Orthodox Christian faith holds to the biblical teaching that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage. Sex is a gift of God to be fully enjoyed and experiences only within marriage. The marriage bed is to be kept "pure and undefiled" (Hebrew 13:4), and men and women are called to remain celibate outside of marriage. Our sexuality, like many other things about us human beings, affects our relationship with God, ourselves, and others. It may be employed as a means of glorifying God and fulfilling His image in us, or it may be perverted and abused as an instrument of sin, causing great damage to us and others. St. Paul writes, "Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body..." (I Corinthians 6:19, 20).
HOMOSEXUALITY: Although there is much more open discussion about homosexuality in the twentieth century than in previous times, there is sufficient reference to it in ancient writings. The frequently used synonym, sodomy, comes from the apparent homosexual activity among men of Sodom (Genesis 19), and the severity of strictures set forth in the Holiness Code with nothing short of the death penalty being imposed, suggested that the need for discipline must have been great, (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13). The Old Testament understood normal sexual intercource as not only a way of expressing a loving relationship, but also as a divinely appointed way of creating new life.
In the New testament, St. Paul condemns male prostitutes and homosexuals (I Corinthians 6:9-11). In the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:24-32), he also judges it as unnatural . Homosexuals are included elsewhere among the immoral persons who, St. Paul says, deserve judgement by God (I Timothy 1:10). There is no example in all of the New Testament of approval, acceptance, or even tolerance of homosexuality.
Throughout Christian history, this disapproval has continued to be the case. In the patristic era freedom from homosexuality was seen as a mark of the Christian's ethical superiority to the wanton way of life that converts had left. Patristic thinking, like scriptural references, were directed to the practice of homosexuality, not to the desire itself. The Orthodox Church does not condemn the person who keeps this propensity in check, and ministers to homosexuals who wish to find release from this inclination.
The Eastern Orthodox Church
Rev. Constas H. Demetry, D. D.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
For some time we were in need of a Catechism book for our Sunday School children besides teaching them the regular Sunday School lessons.
One such book which has been out of print and which I felt would be ideal for our Sunday School Department was the material from this book taken from the Catechism Book written by the late Rev. Constas H. Demetry, D.D., father of our own Helen Nichols who has been very helpful in serving our community. I am very grateful to Helen Nichols and Danny Demetry for giving me their permission to reprint this Catechism which I feel will be valuable instructive material in Sunday School and to non-Orthodox who wish to learn the Orthodox Faith.
Rev. Constas H. Demetry, D.D., who wrote this Catechism, has served the Church courageously and conscientiously for more than thirty seven (37) years, during which time he was honoured with the title of Doctor of the Ecumenical Throne by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and was decorated with the Golden Cross of the Savior by the Greek Government.
Rev. Nicholas C. Nick St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church 815 NE 15 Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (305) 467-1515
--------------------------------------------------------------- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings....(Book of Hebrews, Chapter 8, Verse 9)
Catechismof the Eastern Orthodox Church
written by Rev. Constas H. Demetry, D. D.
Catechism of the Greek Orthodox Faith
INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Q. What is our religion called?
A. The Christian Religion.
Q. Why is it called the Christian religion?
A. Because Christ gave it to the world.
Q. State its teachings briefly.
A. God made the world and created one pair of human beings upon the earth. Our first parents were fashioned good, but they disobeyed God, and through the sin of disobedience their mind was darkened and they lost God. Their heart became evil. From thence they fell into all wickedness and into death. Their descendants suffered likewise. But God through His love to His creatures sent His Son Jesus Christ, who became Man, taught concerning the true God and what His will is, founded His Church, that it might continue His work, was crucified that He might propitiate divine righteousness, which had been insulted by the sin of our First Parents, and reconcile men with God, and was buried. But after three days He arose; forty days after the Resurrection He was received into Heaven and fifty days after the Resurrection He sent the Holy Spirit that He might guide His Church into all truth. From thenceforth all who desired to be saved from sin and be happy both in this life and in that to come MUST believe in Christ, receive Divine Grace through the Sacraments and conform to His teachings, especially to that concerning love.
ON THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
Q. How was the work of Christ continued?
A. By His Church.
Q. Did His Church remain united?
A. No; it became divided into many parts.
Q. Into how many divisions can these be arranged?
A. Into two, the Eastern and Western Churches.
Q. Which is the most notable of the Eastern Churches?
A. The Orthodox Church.
Q. Which are the most notable of the Western Churches?
A. The Papal or Roman Catholic, the Anglican, and the Protestant.
Q. Why is the Orthodox Church so named?
A. Because it believes rightly and is the Christian Church founded by Christ.
Q. Why is the Papal Church so named?
A. Papal, because she acknowledges as her head the Pope; Roman, because her seat is in Rome; and Catholic, because the Church, before it was divided, was called Catholic, and the Roman Church continues to appropriate for herself the title of the ancient undivided Church.
Q. Why are the Protestants so named?
A. Because they protested against the Papal Church and separated from it during the sixteenth (16th) century.
Q. Which Church lately separated from the Papal Church?
A. The Old Catholic Church.
Q. Why is the Anglican Church so named?
A. Because it is situated in England.
Q. What is the Anglican Church called in America?
A. It is known as the Episcopal Church.
Q. Why is it so named?
A. Because it alone, of all the Protestant Churches, retained the Order of Bishops.
Q. To which Church do we belong?
A. To the Orthodox Church.
Q. How many Churches constitute the Orthodox?
A. The following: 1. The four ancient Patriarchates, namely, that of Constantinople or the Ecumenical, and those of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.
2. The three new Patriarchates of Russia, Serbia, and Roumania.
3. The Autocephalous Churches of Cyprus, Greece, Georgia (Iberia) and Poland.
4. The autonomous Churches of Czechoslovakia, Esthonia, Lithouania, Finland, North and South America, Northwestern and Central Europe, Australia and Mount Sinai.
Q. To which of the Orthodox Churches do the Greeks of America belong and why?
A. To the autonomous Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America; which Church is dependent upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the so named Great Church of Christ, (because its throne is first among all the Orthodox Churches) and therefore since the fourth Ecumenical Council all scattered Churches must depend on this Patriarchate, according to its decision, which was ratified by the successive Ecumenical Councils and was accepted by all the Churches, even by the Roman.
Q. In what respect does an autonomous Church differ from an autocephalous one?
A. It differs in this respect: The autonomous has some liberties in government but is dependent on another Church, while the autocephalous is free in its government but is compelled to keep the same Dogmas and Canons; in case any of them are broken the Ecumenical Patriarchate is entitled to intervene, and in case of disobedience, to call upon the other autocephalous Churches to make a common decision on the matter, as was done in 1872 in the case of the Bulgarian Church.
Q. How many members of the Orthodox Church have we in the United States?
A. We have about six (6) million.
Q. What Catechism ought the people of America study?
A. The Catechism of the Orthodox Church.
Q. Is it necessary for us to learn in what matters of belief the non-Orthodox Churches differ from our own, and why?
A. Yes, because different sects seek to proselytize us and take us away from Orthodoxy. Therefore we must know what each one of them believes and who holds the right faith so as not to be mistaken in such an important matter upon which depends the salvation of the soul. Furthermore, we must guide the misguided back to Orthodoxy so as to assure the salvation of as many as can be given guidance.
Q. Are there any differences among the Churches?
A. Yes, there are many.
ON THE CONTENTS, SOURCES, AND DIVISIONSOF THE CATECHISM
Q. What is the subject of the Catechism?
A. What we ought to believe and what we ought to do that we may inherit eternal life.
Q. What do we call those things which we ought to believe?
A. We call them Dogmas or Doctrines.
Q. What do we call the things which we ought to do?
A. We call them good deeds.
Q. From what sources are the contents of the Catechism derived?
A. From the Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.
Q. What is the Holy Scripture?
A. Books written by the Prophets and other holy Hebrew men, before the birth of the Christ: and also the books which were written by the Apostles, and disciples of Christ.
Q. What are the first Books called and what the second?
A. The first are called the Old Testament and the second the New Testament or Gospel.
Q. What is Holy Tradition, and is it absolutely essential to faith?
A. Holy Tradition consists of those things which Christ delivered to his Apostles and which they transmitted to their successors orally. It is absolutely essential to faith, because it is the source of the Holy Scripture and we cannot understand all of the Holy Scripture correctly without the help of Holy Tradition. Since the Protestant Churches reject Holy Tradition, they have no authoritative judge for the explanation of Holy Scripture. Each has his own opinion, and on this account they differ among themselves, although they have the same name, Protestant. And they will continue to be subdivided in the future as long as they do not restore Holy Tradition to its proper place in the Church.
Q. How do we accept the Holy Scripture?
A. As inspired and infallible. (There are two theological opinions about inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture. According to the first, inspiration and infallibility extend not only over religious and moral questions but also to all other matters which Holy Scripture touches, even to the words themselves. According to the second, which is the more satisfactory, inspiration and infallibility are confined only to the ideas and especially to those of the ideas which concern Religious and moral truths, as they come from revelation and therefore being necessary for the salvation of man, must be guaranteed.)
Q. Into how many parts is the Catechism divided?
A. Into two (2) parts. (a) Faith and (b) Good Deeds.
DIFFERENCES AS TO SOURCES
Q. Do all Churches agree as to the sources of Catechism?
A. No. (a) The Orthodox and the Anglican Churches accept two sources:Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.
(b) The Papal Church acknowledges three (3) sources: Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the Pope.
(c) The Protestant Churches accept but one:Holy Scripture. Page 5
THE TRUTH AS TO THE SOURCES
Q. Which Church is right with regard to the sources of the Catechism?
A. The Orthodox and the Anglican, whereas others are in error, because no one has the right to change the dogmas which Christ gave to us, either to add to them or to subtract from them, or to pervert them; since, if we are sufficient of ourselves to find out what the dogmas are, and which are needed for our salvation, the Incarnation of Christ would have been superfluous.
P A R T I.
F A I T H
THE SYMBOL OF THE FAITH
Q. Is it easy for us to derive the contents of the Catechism directly from their sources?
A. No; because the sacred Scripture is extensive and not written systematically, while Holy Tradition is scattered throughout the books of the Holy Fathers and the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, and those of the Local Councils which are recognized.
Q. Where can we find the contents of the Catechism briefly?
A. We find our Faith in the Creed, or Symbol of Faith, and Good Deeds in the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount.
Q. What is the Creed or Symbol of Faith?
A. A very brief statement of the Christian Faith.
Q. Who composed the Symbol of Faith?
A. The first Ecumenical Council composed the first seven articles and the beginning of the eighth, and the second Council completed the eighth and composed the other four articles.
Q. Is the mere committing of it to memory sufficient?
A. No, it needs to be appropriately explained for complete understanding.
Q. What are the twelve articles of the Creed or the Symbol of Faith?
1. I believe in one (1) God, Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of everything visible and invisable.
2. And in one (1) Lord Jesus Christ, the only-be-gotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all Ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten not made, co-substantial with the Father, through Whom all things were made.
3. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became Man.
4. Crucified for our salvation under Pontius Pilate, He suffered and was buried.
5. And was resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures.
6. And ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father;
7. And He will return in glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose reign will have no end.
8. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke through the Prophets.
9. I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
10. I acknowledge One Baptism for the remission of sins.
11. I await for the resurrection of the dead.
12. And the life of the Ages to come. Amen.
IN EXPLANATION OF ARTICLE 1.
CONCERNING GOD AND THE WORLD
Q. What Dogmas are contained in the first article of the Creed?
A. The Dogmas:
a.) Concerning God and b.) Concerning the World.
CONCERNING THESE DOGMASa.) Concerning God.
1.) God and His Perfections
Q. Who is God?
A. He who created the world.
Q. What is God?
A. A Spirit, personal, and supremely perfect.
Q. What does this mean?
A. It means that God is an immaterial Being (incorporeal), that He has mind and freedom, and that He is perfect in all things.
Q. Who made God?
A. No one; because God has no beginning. He is without beginning.
Q. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere. He is Omnipresent.
Q. Why do we not see Him?
A. Because He is Immaterial (Incorporeal).
Q. Does God see us?
A. God sees us and all things, and He sees everywhere at the same time. He is All-seeing.
Q. Does God know many things?
A. God knows all things. He is All-knowing.
Q. What power has God?
A. God has all power. He is Almighty.
Q. Does God sin?
A. No. He is All-holy.
Q. Can God do evil?
A. No. He is All-good. Because evil is the opposite of good; being the embodiment of sin, God cannot do evil, by definition. God is All-holy and All-good.
Q. Can God do injustice?
A. No. He is All-just.
Q. Does God ever change?
A. No. He is Unchangeable.
Q. Can God die?
A. No. He is immortal.
DIFFERENCES ON THE PERSONALITY OF GOD
Q. Do the Churches differ on the personality of God?
A. No, excepting the Christian Scientists. The Pantheists also differ, but they are not considered as a Christian Church.
THE TRUTH AS TO THE PERSONALITY OF GOD
Q. Who is right as to the personality of God?
A. The Churches, except the Christian Scientists, because the Holy Scripture attributes to God, mind, emotion, and will, which are the three attributes of all personality. "God knoweth all things" (I John Ch. 3, Ver. 20). "God is love" (I John Ch. 4, Ver. 8). "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent me" (Gospel of St. John Ch. 5, Ver. 30).
2.) The Unity and the Trinity of God
Q. Is God only One?
A. God is one only, but with three Persons unconfused, and inseparable, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Q. What phrase does the Church employ with reference to God?
A. That God is One in Three and Three in One.
Q. Can we understand the Holy Trinity?
A. No, because it is a mystery.
Q. What is a mystery?
A. A mystery is a truth which we cannot understand.
Q. Is it right that we should reject everything which we cannot understand?
A. No, because there are many things which we do not understand, but which exist, and which we use continually; for example, magnetism, electricity, gravity, etc.
Q. What material thing presents a little figurative similarity to the Holy Trinity?
A. The sun, which being one, presents to us three things, light, heat, and matter.
DIFFERENCES ON THE HOLY TRINITY
Q. Do all the Churches believe in the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity?
A. All except the Unitarians, who, concerning God, accept that He is one Person only; The Jehovah Witness who accept one Person only before the Resurrection of Christ, that is the Father, but after it they accept two, the Father and the Son, but not the Holy Spirit, because they think it is not a person, but only an influence of the Father; and the Christian Scientists, who consider the Holy Trinity polytheistic.
THE TRUTH ON THE HOLY TRINITY
Q. Which one of the above is right and why?
A. The Churches who believe in the Holy Trinity, because Christ Himself gave us the Dogmas of the Holy Trinity, saying: "Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:" (Gospel of St. Matthew Ch. 28, Ver. 19).
3.) Evidence of the Existence of God Apart from the Universe
Q. What evidence have we that there is a personal God apart from the Universe?
A. a) The existence of the universe, b) its formation,c) its government.
Q. About subtopic (a), How is it proved from the existence of the universe that there is a God apart from it?
A. 1.) The universe, (the earth and the heavenly bodies) could not come into being of itself because it consists of matter, which is inert. (A body is called inert, when it of itself, without external influence, cannot change its state.)
Therefore there must be a personal Power apart from it, which gave it its beginning. And this personal Power is God.
2.) The Universe, according to the astronomers, moves, and moves regularly, and in circles (rotates). This rotating movement needed a power apart from the universe to produce this motion, and, in order that the power should not be exhausted or become larger or smaller, a Personal and Omnipotent Power is needed to renew the power which is lost on account of the friction of the motion, and to regulate it so that the motion might always be uniform.
Q. About subtopic (b), How is it proved from the formation of the universe that there is a wise, and omnipotent God, apart from it?
A. One of the bodies of the Universe, the earth, upon which we live, was not always, according to science, as it is now, but was formed gradually and moreover:
1. While according to scientists, it was a nebula in the beginning, it became a red-hot mass, and after much time, its surface cooled, and vegetation with its many species appeared upon it.
2. While there was no animal life to begin with, at some time it appeared with its many species.
3. While there existed no human, i.e. spiritual life, at some time, it also appeared. But it was impossible for inanimate nature and equally for vegetation, animal life, and human life to appear by themselves, because matter feeds life, but cannot produce it. Therefore there ought to be, apart from the earth, a Personal Power which, by its mind, knew when the proper time came, and by its liberty or will, its astonishing strength and wisdom, was able to produce each life.
4. Man has Personality, i.e. Reason, and Conscience, which the mechanically operating universe cannot give. Therefore there must be a God apart from the universe which has these two qualities and gave them to man.
5. All the people of the earth have the idea of God innate in them, and that of obedience to Him; also the ideas of good and evil, of eternity, of judgement and retribution, etc. This universe does not have these ideas either as a whole or in parts. Therefore there must be a Personal Power, apart from the universe, which, having these ideas, put them in man.
6. Everything in the universe has a purpose. But a purpose is something which only a mind can conceive and afterwards execute, as a watch or airplane inventor invented and made the watch or airplane. But the universe has no mind; therefore this mind is apart from the universe, and this is God.
Q. About subtopic (c), How is it proved from the government of the universe, that there is an All-wise and Omnipotent God, apart from it?
A. The universe, great and manifold as it is, in order to be governed needs a Power apart from the universe itself, and one that is Personal, All-wise, and Omnipotent, and this Power is God.
4.) Evidence That God Is One
Q. How is it proved that God is One and not many?
A. 1. From the perfect order and unity of design, which we observe in the universe, and which could not be, if there were many gods, beacuse it is impossible for many to agree always and in all things. For example, the sun and the soil are for the use of plants; plants are for animals; animals for man, and all things for the glory of God and the happiness of men.
2. From the fact that it is impossible for us to conceive many super-perfect beings as co-existent. Therefore, God, being supremely perfect, must be only One.
b.) Concerning the World
1.) On Creation
Q. Who created the world, how and why?
A. God created the world in six days, from nothing, with only the power of His Word, that He might make other beings happy also.
Q. Into what parts can we divide the world?
A. Into the visible world, that is, what we see (the earth, stars, etc.) and into the invisable, that is, what we do not see, (spirits).
Q. Are all spirits the same?
A. No, there are good spirits, namely, the Angels, and there are evil spirits, namely, the Demons.
Q. Were the spirits always of two kinds?
A. No. God made them all good, but a part of them afterwards rebelled and became evil.
Q. What is the work of the Angels?
A. To serve God and to help men in good deeds, and to protect them as Guardian Angels.
Q. What is the work of the Demons?
A. To pervert men and make them evil.
Q. Which was the most excellent creature in the visible world?
Q. Who were the first human beings whom God created and what are they called?
A. The first human beings that God created were Adam and Eve, and they are called our First Parents.
Q. What were the distinct component elements that God gave them and how did He form them?
A. The component parts were two:
body and soul,and He formed them in His own image and likeness.
Q. What does "in His image" signify?
A. That which God has, namely, mind, freedom, power, and immortality, He also gave to man when He formed our First Parents.
Q. What does "in His likeness" signify?
A. That the gifts which God gave to our First Parents were sufficient to enable them, assisted by the Divine Grace, to become perfect and like unto God.
DIFFERENCES ON CREATION
Q. Do The Churches differ on creation?
A. No, except Christian Scientists who accept a spiritual world only, i.e. God and a spiritual universe, which was not created, but co-exists with God as His idea, while a material world does not exist, but is false, as testimony of the senses of man, which senses deceive him. Secondarily, they do not accept Angels and Devils as Spirits, but as good thoughts and evil beliefs.
THE TRUTH AS TO CREATION
Q. Who is right as to creation?
A. The Churches, because the Scripture, on which Mrs. Eddy says that she bases her heresy, tells us clearly that:
1. Neither spirits, man nor the world was co-existent with God, but were created. ("..in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.") ...Genesis Chapter 2, Verse 4. ("..glorify thou me ... with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.") ...St. John Chapter 17, Verse 5.
2. That God created the angels good spirits, and that some of them sinned and became evil spirits, or Devils. ("..Who maketh his angels spirits..") ...Hebrews Chapter 1, Verse 7. ("For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell..") ...II Peter Chapter 2, Verse 4.
ON THE FALL OF OUR FIRST PARENTS
Q. Were our First Parents happy, and why?
A. Our First Parents were happy because they were innocent.
Q. Did God give them any commands and why?
A. He commanded them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that He might test their obedience. (Many people think that the fruit which the First Parents ate in disobedience to God was the carnal connexion. This is not true, because the lawful carnal connexion of man and woman and procreation of children is in accordance with the will of God, since God, as soon as He created the First Parents, blessed them and said to them:"Be Fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth.." ...Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 28.
Q. Did they remain faithful to God?
A. No, they fell into temptation, disobeyed, and sinned.
Q. What good would they have had if they had obeyed?
A. Their bodies would have become immortal like their souls, and they would have insured for themselves forever the happiness which they had.
Q. What did they suffer through the sin of disobedience?
A. 1. Their minds became darkened and they lost God.
2. Their hearts became perverted and they began to love the evil more than the good.
3. They fell into sickness and various other evils.
4. Their bodies became mortal.
5. Their souls were condemned to moral death, which is separation from God, i.e. eternal misfortune.
Q. Did only our First Parents suffer from their disobedience?
A. Unfortunately the whole human race born since has also suffered. They inherited the same evils, just as they would have inherited immortality and happiness, if our First Parents had obeyed; because just as impure water proceeds from an impure fountain so also sinful men are born of sinful ancestors.
Q. Did the rest of creation suffer anything from the disobedience of our First Parents?
A. Assuredly; and because of this, since then, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.", as the Apostle Paul writes in the Book of Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 22.
Q. What is that sin of disobedience, with all the evils which it brought, called?
A. The original sin.
Q. Are we responsible for the original sin?
A. Personally none; because we did not personally commit the sin of our First Parents; but we are charged with it by inheritance because we were in Adam and Eve when they sinned, and for this reason the Apostle Paul writes:
"..all have sinned." ...Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 12. Page 16
Q. Has anyone been exempted from the original sin?
A. Only Jesus Christ, because He was incarnate of the Holy Spirit, which, being God, is without sin, and of the Virgin Mary after her cleansing of original sin by the Holy Spirit when the Angel announced to her the conception and birth of Christ.
Q. Does man also carry the burden of other sins besides the original sin?
A. Assuredly; personal sins. (The personal sins are mortal and non-mortal. Mortal are those which destroy any hope of repentance, because they bring the death of the soul, namely, moral, eternal death. But every sin may be forgiven by since repentance.
Q. What do personal sins lead to?
A. Personal sins lead to passion.
Q. What is passion and what evils does it inflict?
A. Passion is a bad habit, acquired through the repetition of sin. It takes away freedom and inflicts the same evils as the original sin.
ON THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL
Q. What is the soul?
A. The spiritual and moral part of man.
Q. Does the soul exist separately or is it perhaps the brain, as materialists teach?
A. The brain is one thing and the soul another. The brain, as part of the body, is material. The soul is immaterial, and apart from the body, but uses the brain as its organ for its operations.
4.) Evidences of the Existence of the Soul
Q. Are there reasons which demand the existence of a spiritual soul within us, apart from the body?
A. Assuredly; the following:
1. The conceptions of the soul and of disembodied (incorporeal) spirits which we possess, even though they do not come through our senses from the external material world.
2. The consciousness that we are not only body but also spirit.
3. The creative power to conceive ideas and make material things by them which we, alone of all animals possess.
4. The spiritual world which only man has within him, and which could not originate from a material brain.
5. The simultaneous operation of two spiritual energies which could be impossible if we had only a material brain working mechanically. (For example, the mind, while engaged in the process of reading, can at the same time think of other things).
6. The fact that the ego is not changed, while the brain is changed every so often, according to science.
7. The fact that the spirit is young when the body is old.
8. The fact that the spirit often regularly functions in cases where an autopsy shows afterwards that the brain was injured or wholly destroyed; and vice versa, namely, that the spiritual energy is often not regular where an autopsy shows afterwards that the brain was healthy.
5.) On the Immortality of the Soul
Q. Does the soul die?
A. No; the soul is immortal.
Q. Are there reasons which require the immortality of the soul, and if so, what are they?
A. Assuredly; they are the following:
1. All nations have always believed and do believe in the immortality of the soul, a conviction which does not come from the outer world. Therefore the Creator implanted it in our hearts and it must be true.
2. Man desires immortality from that which is implanted within him. But implanted desires have corresponding objects by which they are fulfilled.
3. Man desires perfect happiness and cannot attain it in this life. Therefore, another life is fitting and necessary to attain it.
4. Elementary justice seeks that the good shall be rewarded and the wicked punished. But this does not always happen in this world. Therefore, the soul must be immortal that it may render account of itself in another life.
5. Material things, being compound, are subject to decomposition, that is, they die. But the soul cannot be dissolved because it is simple. Therefore it is immortal.
6. If the soul were not immortal, and gave no account of itself in another life, there could be no mortality, nor surety, nor could society exist, because self-sacrifice, which strengthens society, would be wanting, and egoism, which blights every good, would prevail.
Page 19DIFFERENCES ON THE FALL
Q. How do the Churches differ respecting the Dogma of the fall of man?
A. a) The Orthodox, Anglican, and Papal Churches accept that the nature of man has suffered from sin, i.e. the image of God in him has been corrupted and the "in His likeness" has not been attained, and all men are responsible before God for the original sin.
b) The Protestant Churches accept that the nature of man, i.e. that "in His image", was lost wholly, and replaced with a nature wholly corrupt and ethically dead. b1) But some of them, as the so-called Church of God, do not accept that all men are responsible before God for the original sin.
c) The Christian Scientists accept that: 1. Man is not simply a material form with a soul inside, but a reflection of the infinite, the true idea, the true image and likeness of God.
2. Man did not fall, because it is impossible to fall for an idea of God, apparently never born and never dying.
Page 20THE TRUTH AS TO THE FALL
Q. Which Church is right in its teaching on the Dogma of the fall?
A. The Orthodox, the Anglican, and Papal Churches, whereas others are in error because:
1. If all men are not responsible for the original sin, why does St. Paul write? "In whom all sinned," (Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 12) and that before we became Christians, "we were children of wrath, even as others", (Book of Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verse 3). Therefore, how otherwise did we sin than by heredity, by reason of the sin of our First Parents, and how could we be under the wrath of God if the sin of our First Parents did not rest heavily upon us?
2. If the image of God was wholly destroyed, why does the Holy Scripture say, "Who so sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God I made man", (Genesis, Chapter 9, Verse 6). And this is said concerning man not before the fall but after it.
3. The soul does not die, as is shown above; but the death to which the Holy Scripture refers, is moral death, as appears from the words of the Apostle Paul, "She who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." (I Timothy, Chapter 5, Verse 6).
4. For man to be considered as the reflection of the infinite, a kind of God, contradicts reality which presents man as being finite in all respects.
5. If man did not fall, then who is in error?
a) The Holy Scripture which declares that man has fallen?
b) Christ, who assures us that, "the Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many" (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 20, Verse 28)?
c) or the Christian Scientists?
It seems obvious that (c) the Christian Scientists are in error.
Page 21 ARTICLE 2.
ON THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. Which Dogma is found in the second article of the creed?
A. The Dogma concerning the Divinity of Jesus Christ; that our Lord Jesus Christ is begotten of the substances of the Father and on this account the Symbol speaks of Him as cosubstantial with the Father; He is true God and Creator of everything, because the world was created by the Father through Jesus Christ.
EVIDENCE OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. Have we proofs that Jesus Christ is God and what are they?
A. Assuredly. We have many, the chief of which are as follows:
1. Thousands of years before Christ was born, many prophets predicted all the details concerning Him, and ALL were fulfilled. This is a unique phenomenon in History.
2. Only God works miracles by His own power. But Jesus wrought miracles in His own power, and said also to other men that He would give them this power through the invocation of His name alone, and He has done it.
3. Christ Himself, who never uttered a lie, confessed Himself to God. "I and the Father are one," (Gospel of St. John, Chapter 10, Verse 30), and "He that came down from heaven, the Son of man which is in heaven." (Gospel of St. John, Chapter 3, Verse 13).
4. The Disciples of Jesus testify that Christ is God. "God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy, Chapter 3, Verse 16). "In Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Book of Colosians, Chapter 2, Verse 9). And "Christ Who is over all God blessed forever" (Book of Romans, Chapter 9, Verse 5) and read II Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verse 18), etc.
5. All the local and Ecumenical Councils acknowledged Christ as God, and all the Church for twenty centuries has worshipped Him as God, so that "every knee in Heaven and upon earth and under the earth should bow before Him." (Book of Phillipians, Chapter 2, Verse 10), in the future also.
6. The truth of the divinity of Jesus Christ was delivered among innumerable persecutions and sacrifices. That it prevailed is an indication that it received the help of God, who would not have granted His help if this truth were not real.
THE TRUTH AS TO THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. Who are right?
A. The Churches, while those who deny the divinity of Christ are in error for all of the above reasons, and moreover have no right to be called Christians, because Jesus Christ Himself declares, that He founded His Church upon the confession of Saint Peter, that Jesus is God. (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, Verse 18). It is true that the Bible Students accept that Christ is God today because He apparently became so after His resurrection; but, inasmuch as they deny His perpetual divinity, they are also heretics, because they reject an express teaching of Christ, and they do not differ from Arius, who was condemned as a heretic for the same misbelief, that Christ is not God without beginning as the Father is. The same is true of the Christian Scientists. As long as the divinity which they attribute to Christ is something which every man can acquire, the nature of Christ is believed to be something created, and as such can become perfect, but cannot be or become a divine substance or nature. But Christ says: "O Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (Gospel of St. John, Chapter 17, Verse 5).
CONCERNING THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST AND THE PERPETUAL VIGINITYOF THE MOTHER OF GOD
Q. What Dogmas are set forth in the third article?
A. The Dogmas of the incarnation of Christ and of the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God.
a) The Incarnation of Christ
Q. What is the Dogma of the incarnation of Christ?
A. That Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, while never ceasing to be God, became man at an appointed time.
Q. How did He become a man?
A. At the time when the Virgin Mary was consecrated to the service of God, and was in the Temple, the Archangel Gabriel came and announced to her the unprecedent miracle which would take place within her. Then the Holy Spirit descended and, after He had first cleansed her from the original sin, gave her the power to conceive within her the Son of God, who after nine months was born a man.
Q. Was it necessary that the Son of God should become a man?
A. Yes; that He might save man it was necessary that as a man He should give men the right teaching about God and all other heavenly teachings, that He might enlighten the minds of men, and that He might satisfy the divine Justice with the sacrifice of His sinless life and reconcile to their Creator the creatures who were under the wrath of God.
Q. What name was Christ given with reference to His saving work?
A. Jesus, i.e. Saviour, Redeemer.
Q. Why is He called Christ?
A. Because He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, as the Kings, Prophets, and High Priests of the Hebrews were anointed with Holy Oil.
Q. How many natures and how many wills had Christ after the incarnation; and what is He called with reference thereto?
A. Christ had two natures and two wills, namely, the divine and the human. For this reason He is called the God-man.
Q. How many persons were there in Christ after the incarnation?
A. One person, one Christ.
Q. How were the two wills harmonized?
A. The human will was subjected voluntarily to the divine, as a good pupil obeys his teacher and a good son his father, without compulsion.
DIFFERENCES AS TO THE INCARNATION
Q. In what do the Churches differ with reference to the Dogma of the incarnation of Christ?
A. Whereas the Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant Churches accept that only Christ was conceived and born without Original sin, the Papal Church, since 1854, has dogmatically declared that the Mother of God also was conceived and born spotless; this is called the Immaculate Conception.
THE TRUTH AS TO THE INCARNATION
Q. Which Church is right as to the Dogma of the Incarnation of Christ?
A. The Orthodox and Protestant, because the Holy Scripture declares that:
"all have sinned," (Book of Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 23),
except Jesus Christ (Book of Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verse 14),
while Holy Tradition knows nothing of any such teaching as
that of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.
b) The Perpetual Virginity
Q. What is the Dogma of the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God?
A. That the Mother of God "conceived as a virgin, brought forth as a virgin, and after the birth still remained a virgin."
DIFFERENCES AS TO PERPETUAL VIRGINITY
Q. In what do the Churches differ as to the Dogma of the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God?
A. While the Orthodox, Anglican, and Papal Churches accept that the Mother of God is ever virgin, some Protestants from the sixteenth (16th) century onward began to teach that the Blessed Virgin Mary was the mother of other children after the birth of Jesus. They maintain that they gather this mistaken opinion from the Gospel, where brethren of Jesus are referred to, (Matthew, Chapter 12, Verse 46), and where it is said concerning Joseph, "and he knew her not till she brought forth," (Matthew, Chapter 1, Verse 25). (They who are called brothers of Jesus were children of Joseph by a former wife, as he was only the betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Jerome and others accept, or of Clopas and the sister of the Mother of God, as Origen, Eusebius, etc., accept, namely, that they were cousins of Jesus. In the Scripture cousins are spoken of as brethren, (Genesis, Chapter 13, Verse 8).
TRUTH AS TO THE PERPETUAL VIRGINITY
Q. Which Church is right with regard to the Dogma of the perpetual virginity?
A. The Orthodox, Anglican, and Papal Churches, while the Protestants are in error, because the so-called brethren of Jesus were not children of the Mother of God, because if she had had other children, Jesus upon His cross would have left His Mother to the care of some one of them, who would have been present at His last moments, and not to the care of John, and He would not have said to her:
"Woman, behold thy son," (St. John, Chapter 19, Verse 26),
that is, since you are losing the only one you have.
ON THE ATONEMENT OR PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE
Q. What Dogma is found in the fourth article?
A. In the fourth article we find the Dogma of the Propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus.
Q. What is the propitiatory or atoning sacrifice of Jesus?
A. The sacrifice of His sinless life, which He offered upon the cross, which was necessary to offer to God, and which He did that the divine Justice, which had been insulted by the disobedience of our First Parents, might be propitiated.
Q. What would have occured if this sacrifice of Jesus had not been offered?
A. The body of man, after undergoing in this life all this misfortune, would finally have died, as also now, but without any hope of a resurrection, and the soul would have been punished eternally in the life to come far from God; while now, because of the sacrifice of Christ, the soul is delivered from punishment, (if man believes in Him and is perfected living after His commandments), and the body is to be raised and united each with its soul.
Q. Could any other have offered this sacrifice?
A. No; neither man nor angel, because no man was without sin, and an angel could not offer a sacrifice sufficiently to satisfy the divine righteousness, because a creature, however much it can do, cannot do it of itself alone, but only by the aid of Divine Grace.
Q. What is the power of the sacrifice of Jesus?
A. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has the power to forgive the sins of all men, of every age, who believe in Jesus and repent for their sins, while still in this life, and to make them children of God after they have been children of wrath by reason of disobedience of Adam and Eve.
Q. What became of the men who were living before the propitiatory sacrifice was offered?
A. As many as believed in Jesus as the Messiah, as the prophets had prophesied of Him, and kept the Mosaic Law, were redeemed when Jesus, after His crucifixion, decended into Hades (Hell), not into punishment, but into the place where the aforesaid were detained and bore to them the glad tidings of their redemption, (I Peter, Chapter 3, Verse 19), (Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 40), and (Book of Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verses 8-10).
DIFFERENCES AS TO THE PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. How do the Churches differ as to the Dogma of the propitiatory sacrifice?
A. All agree, except the Unitarians, and misled Bible Students, who do not accept the sacrifice of Christ as propitiatory, since they believe that Christ was simply a man, and hence His sacrifice was personal, and not for all men.
On the other hand, the Christian Scientists hold:
1. The Christ did not die.
2. That the theory of atonement is man-made, as no propitiation was necessary, because God cannot propitiate Himself and it is divinely unnatural that God's wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son.
3. That one sacrifice, however great is insufficient to pay the debt for a sin.
4. That it was not necessary that Christ reconcile God to man, but man to God, and Christ accomplished it by bringing Himself at-one-ment with God.
5. That Christ did not make His sacrifice for other men, or to relieve them of their individual responsibility, but only to show them how to make theirs.
6. That, therefore, the blood of Jesus was not efficacious to cleanse men from sin.
THE TRUTH AS TO THE PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. Who are right as to the Dogma of propitiatory sacrifice?
A. The Churches, whereas the Unitarians, Christian Scientists, and misled Bible Students, are in error:
1. Because Christ died beyond all doubt, (Matthew, Chapter 27, Verse 50), (Mark, Chapter 15, Verse 37), (Luke, Chapter 23, Verse 47), (John, Chapter 19, Verse 30).
2. Because the theory of God's wrath and atonement is not man-made or unnatural but a revealed truth. For this reason Saint Paul says:
"There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be propitiation, through faith in His blood, we shall be saved from wrath, through Him."...(Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 9)
3. Because the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient for the sins of all men "both original and personal". For this reason Saint Peter says:
"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree (cross), by whose stripes ye were healed",...(I Peter, Chapter 2, Verse 24)
4. Because the reconciliation made by the Christ is not a mere demonstration how man is to harmonize himself to God (at-one-ment), but also a propitiation of divine righteousness which man had offended by his disobedience and a real removal (a pardon) of a personal responsibility which all men bear by disobedience of the First Parents. For this reason Saint Paul says:
"As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous",...(Book of Romans, Chapter 5, Verse 19)
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ ... to wit, that God was in Christ, reconcilling the world into Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them"...(II Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verses 19-20)
But in regard to "atonement" which Mrs. Eddy, by analyzing into "at-one-ment", found proper to express her antiscriptural teachings, we have to say, that this word "atonement" is not the original word but a translation of the Greek, which means atonement in the sense of propitiation or propitiatory sacrifice.
5. Because the blood of Jesus is the only efficacious means of cleansing sin. For this reason Saint John says:
"Not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins,"...(I John, Chapter 4, Verse 10)
"and of the whole world,"...(I John, Chapter 2, Verse 2)
"And if the blood of bulls and of goats sanctifieth, how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works?"...(Book of Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse 15)
And if all the above are not sufficient, we bring the words of our Lord Himself:
"this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins."...(Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse 27)
ON THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Q. What Dogma is contained in the fifth Article?
A. The Dogma of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Q. What is this Dogma?
A. That Jesus Christ, when He was crucified, died and was buried on Friday; after three days He rose as He had foretold, during the night between the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, wherefore we celebrate the festival of the Resurrection under the name of Easter.
In the Greek Orthodox Church, it is shouted at Easter:
"Christos Aneste, Alithos Aneste!!"
which means: "Christ is risen, Truly He is risen!!"
Q. Did Christ remain three (3) days in the sepulchre?
A. Certainly, because the Hebrews began the day from sunset. Consequently from the hour of His death to the evening of Friday is one day, to the evening of the Sabbath is another, and the Lord's Day from the setting of the sun on the Sabbath evening to the hour of the Resurrection is a third.
Q. Have we witnesses that Christ rose?
A. Certainly. We have all those to whom Jesus manifested Himself in His eleven (11) appearances after His Resurrection. The eleven (11) appearances are the following:
1. To Mary Magdalene 2. To the same with the other woman. 3. To Peter 4. To Luke and Clopas 5. To the ten (10) disciples (Thomas being absent) 6. To the eleven (11) Disciples eight (8) days later 7. To the Disciples near the Lake Gennesaret 8. To the Disciples on the Mount in Galilee 9. To the five hundred (500) brethren 10. To Saint James 11. On the Mount of Olives, when He ascended
Q. In what form does the body of Jesus Christ exist since the Resurrection?
A. It is incorruptible and does not possess those normal physical needs which it had before, as all men have them, when He lived as man in this life.
Q. Where was the soul of Jesus when His body was in the sepulchre?
A. It descended to Hades bearing the joyful tidings to those who had believed in His coming as Messiah and had died before He was born.
DIFFERENCES AS TO THE RESURRECTION
Q. Do all the Churches differ as to the Dogma of the Resurrection?
A. All the Churches agree. Only the following differ:
1. The misled Bible Students who hold that the body of Jesus did not rise, but was perhaps changed into gases.
2. The Rationalists, who deny the Resurrection as a miracle, since they deny every miracle as (apparently) impossible.
3. The Christian Scientists, who teach that since Christ did not die, He did not rise either.
THE TRUTH AS TO THE RESURRECTION
Q. Who are right as to the Dogma of the Resurrection?
A. The Churches, while the misled Bible Students, the Rationalists, and the Christian Scientists are in error because:
1. since, as the Bible Students believe, Christ from a spirit of a secondary order, which He apparently was before the incarnation, became after the incarnation simply a body without a soul, how that according to their belief could have risen and gone into Heaven and have then become God?
2. Miracles, as acts of God, both are possible (since God both knows how to perform such acts and is able and willing to do so) and are historical facts; since the miracles of the Gospel and those which were wrought and are still being wrought before thousands of men of every rank and age, we cannot reject them without overturning and perverting history. The Resurrection of Jesus in particular is an historical fact, since Christ had died, as it is scientifically proved by the blood which came from His pierced side, because it was separated into blood and water, as happens with the dead, and after His burial He showed Himself, alive with His body, pierced in the hands and the feet and the side; He showed Himself, moreover, not once, but eleven (11) times, and to over five hundred (500+) men, who were not credulous, because some of them then believed only when they made use, not only of their sight and hearing, but even of their touch; these men, who had been like trembling hares, became by this reason of the Resurrection fearless heroes, having the courage to sacrifice life itself, preaching:
"That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled that declare we unto you."...(I John, Chapter 1, Verses 1-3)
3. Saint Paul considers the Christian Faith vain without the Resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 17)
CONCERNING THE ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST AND HIS SESSION AT THERIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER
Q. What Dogmas are contained in the sixth article?
A. The sixth article contains these:
a) The Dogma of the Ascension, and
b) The Dogma of the session of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father.
a.) Concerning The Ascension of Jesus Christ
Q. What is the Dogma of the Ascension?
A. That after Jesus had remained on the earth after His resurrection forty (40) days conversing with His Disciples, He was received up before them into Heaven; this event the Church celebrates forty (40) days after Easter under the name of the "Feast of Ascension".
b.) Concerning The Session Of Jesus Christ At The Right Hand Of The Father
Q. What is the Dogma of the session of Jesus at the right hand of the Father?
A. That our Lord after His ascension into Heaven sat down at the right hand of the Father, being now simply God, as He was before the incarnation, but the God-man, with His glorified body, as it is after the Resurrection.
Q. What do we mean by the words "sat at the right hand"?
A. That Jesus Christ as the God-man, having completed His saving work for the whole world, continues to be equal in all things with the Father, just as He was before His incarnation.
DIFFERENCES ON THE ASCENSION OF JESUS CHRIST AND HIS SESSION AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER
Q. Do the Churches differ on the Doctrine of the Ascension and the Session of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father?
A. No. Only those who do not accept the Doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, of course, do not accept the Doctrine of the Ascension and the Session of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father. Let us pray for those who differ that they may be loosed from the grip of Satan, and be given Eternal Life in Christ Jesus!!!
ARTICLE 7, 11, and 12.
ON THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD,AND THE FUTURE LIFE.
Q. With which other articles may Article 7 be combined and why?
A. It may be combined with the 11th and 12th, because all three contain Dogmas related to each other.
Q. What are these Dogmas?
A. 1. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 2. The Resurrection of the Dead. 3. The Future Life.
Q. What is the Dogma of the Second Coming of Christ?
A. That the bodies of all dead mankind will rise.
Q. What is the Dogma of Future Life?
A. That the existence of man does not cease with death, but that, after death he passes to another life.
Q. Into how many Stages may the life of man after death be divided and what are these Stages?
A. Into three (3) Stages:
1) The time from the moment of death to the Second Coming of Christ. 2) The time during the Second Coming of Christ. 3) The time after the Second Coming of Christ.
Q. What becomes of man during the First (1st) Stage?
A. At the instant when a man dies, the body goes to the earth and is disolved into the elements of which it is composed, and the soul undergoes a preliminary divine judgement.
1. If he has believed in Jesus Christ, kept His faith incorrupt, repented his sins before his death, and done good deeds, he is led where God assigns him and lives in happiness until the Second Coming of Christ.
2. But if he has been an unbeliever, or believed in Christ, but corrupted His faith, or sinned after Baptism and did not repent before he died, and did not do good deeds, he is taken where God assigns him and lives unhappy until the Second Coming of Christ.
3. But if he was a believer, and did not corrupt the faith, and having sinned, did indeed repent, but did not reach the performance of good deeds to prove his repentance by actions, then he is led where God assigns him, that he may be punished temporarily, as long as Divine Righteousness considers proper.
Q. How many therefore, and what are the conditions one or another of which each man meets immediately at the instant of death?
A. The conditions are three (3):
1. one of happiness, which will be made complete and eternal after the general judgement,
2. one of unhappiness, which will be made worse and eternal after the general judgement,
3. one of temporary unhappiness, which will be changed to happiness some time before the general judgement.
Q. Will all the saved enjoy the same happiness and all the punished suffer the same unhappiness?
A. No, each individual will be rewarded or punished according to his faith and his works.
Q. Is every tie between the living and the dead broken by death?
A. No, because those who are in happiness (the saints) pray to God for us; but those who are in temporary punishment need our prayers.
Q. How, therefore, should we act with regard to the dead?
A. a) With regard to the Saints we properly:
1. Call upon them in our needs, that they may pray to God that He may be merciful to us.
2. Venerate their Pictures and holy Relics, and celebrate their festivals as appointed by the Church.
3. Learn to profit by their good works which we find recorded in their biographies, and of which their pictures remind us whenever we see them.
b) With regard to the wicked we properly:
1. Give alms and offer Liturgies, and Memorials.
2. Record their names that they may be remembered by the ministers of the Most High God at the Divine Liturgy and especially on the Soul-Sabbaths, which the Church appointed for memorial services for our beloved departed.
Q. Are all the dead benefited by those things which we do for them?
A. No, only those who did not attain to the doing of good works, but repented before they died; because God, being moved by our fervent and continued prayers, especially by masses, which are the sacrifice of His Son, may shorten the time of their disagreeable condition, which they spend in studying themselves, since they did what depended upon them, i.e. repentance.
Q. Can the Saints have knowledge of our prayers?
A. Surely, because the Saints pleased God, God must reward them. As a part of their happiness they must be given the liberty to make use of their ability as spirits to follow their loved ones here on earth and to hear and see their needs.
Page 38SECOND STAGE
Q. What will become of man during the Second Stage?
A. At a time which only God knows, the Second Coming of Christ will occur, i.e. our Lord Jesus Christ will come again to be with us a second time. Then, through the power which He has as God, He will first raise the bodies of those who died, as He raised His own body. These bodies will not have the evils of today, which are the result of the original sin, but will be incorruptible and each of them will be given to the soul which it had when it lived in the world. At the same time He will also change the bodies of those who are alive at that time and make them incorruptible. He will then judge all of them.
Q. By what law will Christ judge the world?
A. Those who had not the opportunity to know the Christian Law, Christ will judge on the basis of the Natural Moral Law which every man carries in him from birth and which is manifested in the requirements of conscience. But those who had the opportunity of knowing the Christian Faith, regardless of whether they accepted it or not, Christ will judge on the basis of the Christian Law. And those, who accepted the Christian Faith and kept it incorrupt and did the good works which it requires, even if they had sinned, but repented and corrected whatever wrongs they had done, will go away to Paradise, and those who did not accept the Christian Faith though they had the opportunity of knowing it, or who accepted it but afterwards corrupted it, or did not do the good works which it requires, and did not repent before they died, will go away into punishment.
Q. What is this judgement called?
A. General, or Last or final judgement.
Q. What will become of men in the Third (3rd) Stage?
A. The condition of each individual will no more be changed, but those, who have gone into Paradise will live in Heaven eternally happy, and those who have gone into Punishment will live in Hades eternally unhappy.
Q. Is there one (1) life after death or many?
A. There is only (1) one; not many. Beware of others who tell you otherwise! Also, watch out for "spiritualists", or "mediums", or "astrologers", or "gurus" who would tell you that you have a spirit guide who is in control of your spiritual destiny or growth! These are evil men who would put you in touch with fallen angels, or demons. Do not confuse demons from hades with the Angels and Saints from Heaven above.
ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
Q. What Dogma is to be found in the eighth (8th) Article?
A. The Dogma of the Holy Spirit.
Q. What is that Dogma?
A. That the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity, has the same authority with the Father and the Son, gives life to all, proceeds from the Father and spake through the Prophets and other Holy men before and after Christ.
Q. When, how, and for what reason was the Holy Spirit sent to the Apostles?
A. The Holy Spirit was sent on Pentecost, the fiftieth (50th) day after the Resurrection of Jesus, to the Apostles, who were waiting in the upper room in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise given to them that He would enlighten them to preach the Gospel and impart to the believers the Mysteries of Grace (the Sacraments).
Q. Has the Holy Spirit since then deserted the Church of Christ?
A. No. He continues to abide with the Church, and to act on its behalf, to guide it into all the truth (Gospel of John, Chapter 16, Verse 13), and through His Divine Grace to help men in their salvation.
ON THE CHURCH
Q. What is the Church?
A. A Divine Institution, which continues the work of Christ for the salvation of mankind and embraces all those who believe in Him rightly and who are under the leadership of Canonical Pastors.
Q. By whom was the Church established, when and for what purpose, and when was it called Christian?
A. The Church was established by our Lord Jesus Christ, when He selected the twelve (12) Apostles. It began to expand principally on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit enlightened the Apostles and they preached the Gospel not only in the Greek and Hebrew (or Aramaic) languages, but also in languages which they had never learned; on that day three thousand souls believed and were baptized. The Church was established to teach, govern, sanctify, and save men. The followers of Christ were called Christians for the first time in Antioch between 36 and 40 A.D.
Q. What obligation has a man to his Church?
A. To be in good standing membership of the Church, i.e. to believe in the Dogmas rightly, receive the Sacraments canonically and obey the Canonical Ecclesiastical Authorities of his district; otherwise he cannot be saved, if he does not belong to and abide by the Church, as Christ makes plain to us. (Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 15, Verses 1-8).
Q. Is the connection of its members with the Church sundered (severed) by death?
A. No, because the Church is divided into two (2) sections:
1. one section on earth, and 2. the other section in Heaven.
Q. What are the two sections of the Church called?
A. The one on earth is called: the Church Militant, and the one in Heaven is called: the Church Triumphant.
Q. Who is the Head of the Church?
A. Christ is the invisible Head, but the visible heads are the Bishops as successors of the Apostles.
Q. Into what orders are the members of the Church divided?
A. Into two (2), the Flock: (That is the Laity), and the Shepherds, that is the Clergy: (Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons).
Q. What characteristics are ascribed to the Church in the ninth (9th) Article?
A. That the Church is:
1. One, 2. Holy, 3. Catholic, and 4. Apostolic.
Q. Why is it so called?
A. 1. One: because all Christians are one (1) body, withone (1) Head, Christ, with one (1) Faith andone (1) organization.
2. Holy: because it is sanctified by Christ with His blood,teaches a Holy Faith, and through the Sacramentsaims at the santification of its members.
3. Catholic: because it holds all the truth, is foreordained tohold fast to it for all time, to teach all peoples,and to embrace within its membership all humanity.
4. Apostolic: because it traces it beginning back to the Apostles,holds the teachings of the Apostles entire andunadulterated, and is governed by the canonicalsuccessors of the Apostles whose successors havereceived Holy Orders from them in uninterruptedsuccession.
Page 42 2) IRREGULARITIES IN THE CHURCH
Q. What conditions cause a member to be cut off from the Church Militant, and what is he called then?
A. 1. When a member falls into apostasy or leaves the Christian religion, then he is called an apostate.
2. When a member falls into heresy, i.e. adds human Dogmas to the Divine Dogmas or takes away from them or perverts those which Christ gave to us for our salvation; then he is called a heretic or cacodox.
3. When a member falls into schism, namely, does not acknowledge the canonical Ecclesiastical Authorities, or in any way strikes at their administration; then he is called schismatic or anticanonical.
4. When a member falls into excommunication, namely, commits a mortal sin and stubbornly clings to it, causing great scandal; then he is excommunicated by the Ecclesiastical Authority and is called an excommunicate.
Q. How does the Church protect her Dogmas and organization?
A. By Councils and Ecclesiastical Courts.
Q. What are the Councils and how many kinds of Councils are there?
A. Councils are assemblies of the Holy Clergy to consider the affairs and problems of the Church. There are three (3) kinds: Provincial, Local, and Ecumenical, and lately there have been added the Permanent Synods.
Q. Which of them are infallible, when and why?
A. The Ecumenical Councils, when they assemble and decide freely. They are infallible for two (2) reasons:
1. because of their universality, i.e. because the entire Church is represented in them.
2. because they are under divine guidance, as our Lord promised....(Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 16, Verse 13)
ON THE SACRAMENTS
Q. What Dogma is contained in the tenth Article?
A. The Dogma on the Sacrament of Baptism.
Q. What is a Sacrament?
A. A ceremony established in the Church by the Christ, either directly or indirectly through the Apostles by which invisible Divine Grace is by visible means communicated to Christians.
Q. How many are the Sacraments and what kind of Grace is imparted through them?
A. The Sacraments are seven (7):
+* 1. Baptism, :* 2. Chrism or Confirmation, +* 3. Penance (or Confession), :* 4. the Divine Eucharist (or Communion), : 5. Holy Orders, : 6. Marriage, and : 7. Unction.
Note: The Sacraments flagged by (*) are obligatory for the individual Christian; and those flagged by (+) impart Grace by Sanctification; while those flagged by (:) impart Grace by Progress.
Grace unto sanctification is imparted through Baptism and Penance, and Grace for progress in the Christian life is given through the remaining five (5) Sacraments.
Q. Are the Sacraments repeated upon one and the same person?
A. Certainly, except only the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders, because these two (2) are ineffaceable in the soul; and even these are repeated regularly whenever they are invalid, because then they are as though they had not been given and are also repeated conditionally whenever doubt exists. For example, when we are not sure, whether a person has been baptized or not, we baptize him with the words:
"The servant of God (name) is baptized, if he has not been baptized, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."
Q. Are all the Sacraments necessary for salvation?
A. For the whole Church they are necessary; but for the individual Christian, 1. Baptism, 2. Chrism, 3. Penance, and 4. the Holy Eucharist are necessary, and for this reason are called obligatory while the other three are spoken of as optional.
Q. Who perform valid Sacraments?
A. The canonical Clergy, i.e. those canonically ordained to the Priesthood, and canonically authorized; that is, appointed by the canonical Ecclesiastical Authority to have the right to exercise the Priesthood.
ON THE SACRAMENTS OR MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION
Q. Are there other means of Grace besides the Sacraments and if so what are they called?
A. Yes. They are called Sacraments or Means of Santification.
Q. In what do they differ from the Sacraments?
A. Because the Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and are necessary for salvation, but the Means of Sanctification were established by the Church and develop good thoughts and character in Christians and help them in their physical and spiritual life.
Q. What are the means of Sanctification?
A. The sign of the cross which we make when we pray; the lesser and the Great Holy Water; the Flowers of the Cross (at the Feast of the Elevation, Sept. 14) and of the Veneration of the Cross, (3rd Sunday of the Great Lent); and Flowers of the Holy Sepulchre (which we use on Good Friday); the Palms; the Prayers to the Holy Virgin and Saints; the Prayers of birth and of the forty days (or of the churching on the fortieth day after the birth); the Prayers of Exorcism against the evil eye and for various needs, which arise during the life of man; finally, as a Means of Sanctification, the constant use of the Holy Scriptures, daily meditation upon them, and faithful study is of great importance.
The truths of our holy religion are all Scriptural, and the Christian, well grounded in the teaching of the Catechism (this document), will find the Scriptures a never-ending joy and inspiration to him and necessary for the best results in happiness and character building. But in the study of the Holy Scripture one should, in the event of doubt as to the meaning of any part of the Scripture, apply to the governing Church, the divinely appointed interpreter of the Holy Scriptures.
DIFFERENCES AS TO THE NUMBER OF SACRAMENTS
Q. How do the Churches differ as to the number of Sacraments?
A. The Orthodox and Papal Churches accept seven (7) Sacraments, but the Protestant Churches accept two (2): Baptism and the Eucharist, except a few who accept them as simple types or remembrances without divine Grace, and especially the so-called Church of God, which accepts: Baptism, the Eucharist, and Foot-washing, but only as ceremonies, without Divine Grace. The Anglican Church says, to be sure, that it accepts two (2) Sacraments, when in reality she acknowledges the seven (7). The difference comes from the meaning which the Anglican Church attaches to the word Mystery or Sacrament, because by it she means those only which clearly appear in the New Testament as established by the Christ, while the other five (5) she calls Apostolical Institutions, but she holds that through them Divine Grace is conferred, namely, she accepts them as we accept the Sacraments.
Page 46 THE TRUTH AS TO THE NUMBER OF SACRAMENTS
Q. Which Church is right as to the number of Sacraments and why?
A. The Orthodox, Papal, and essentially, the Anglican Church, while the Protestant Churches are in error, because, as we shall see from Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, it is manifest that our Lord instituted either directly or indirectly seven (7) sacred ceremonies by means of which Divine Grace is conferred for a definite purpose, namely, the seven Mysteries or Sacraments.
Q. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is a holy ceremony. The Priest in performing it calls upon the Holy Spirit and through Him sanctifies the water then he submerges the person about to be baptized in it three times (3x), in the name of the Holy Trinity. Thus the person is cleansed of his personal sins, and is spiritually regenerated.
Q. Who instituted Baptism, in place of what, when and why?
A. Our Lord, in the place of Circumcision, before His ascension into Heaven, because it is necessary to salvation.
Q. What is required for Baptism, and is it necessary for infants?
A. Faith in Christ. Baptism is necessary for infants also, because while they do not have personal sins, nevertheless they do have original sin of which they need to be cleansed.
Q. Have infants faith?
A. No; and for this reason we employ a Sponsor of adult age who confesses the faith in behalf of the infant and assumes the responsibility to teach it the Christian faith when it is sufficiently grown, if for any reason the parents should not do this.
Q. Is it permitted to perform Baptism in any other way? If so, when is it performed, what is it then called, and who is permitted to perform it?
A. When anyone is ill and not able to be immersed in water, it is required only that he be sprinkled with water (or lifted in the air, if water cannot be had) three times, in the name of the Holy Trinity (in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). This is called Clinic Baptism (from the couch upon which the sick person lies) or Baptism by Economy (for the saving of time when necessary). It is performed by the Priest, or in case of his absence, by a Layman, even by the midwife or one of the parents of the sick.
Q. How is the Baptism of Economy completed?
A. If the person who is being baptized with the Baptism of Economy lives until the Priest arrives, the Priest reads the prayers and performs the whole of the part of the ceremony of the regular Baptism which comes after the three immersions.
Q. Have both forms of Baptism the same validity?
A. Complete and Canonical Baptism is the regular one. The Baptism of Economy is performed only in case of necessity, for the salvation of the souls of those who are near death, and for this reason, if they live, they are not allowed to be Clergymen.
Q. Is Baptism repeated and when?
A. Baptism is not repeated, unless:
1. It was performed in a heretical Church which does not baptize in the name of the Holy Trinity.
2. It is not sure that Baptism was performed.
3. The Baptism of Economy has been performed not because of necessity but only because of heretical disposition.
4. It was performed by a Clergyman who acts without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority.
In any case it is the right of the Ecclesiastical Authority to recognize or not recognize by economy a Baptism which was needlessly performed irregularly or regularly but by a Clergyman who is deposed or acts without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority.
Q. How are the apostate, the heretic, and the schismatic received into the Church?
A. The apostate and the heretic are anointed with Holy Chrism and the schismatic signs a written confession.
Q. Is there any other kind of Baptism?
A. Yes, the Baptism of Blood, i.e. the sudden death a man may suffer for Christ before being baptized.
Q. Is such a baptism sufficient for salvation?
A. Whenever Canonical Baptism or Baptism by Economy cannot be obtained for him who is to give his life for Christ, the Baptism of Blood is sufficient for salvation.
CHRISM OR CONFIRMATION
Q. What is Chrism or Confirmation?
A. Chrism is a holy ceremony which accompanies Baptism in which the Cleric anoints with Holy Chrism different members, (parts) of the body of the baptized, or of one coming back to the Christian Church from which he has departed to embrace another Faith or of one who had fallen into heresy, by means of which the anointing Grace of the Holy Spirit is conferred to strengthen him, that he may progress in his new Christian life.
Q. What is the Holy Chrism and who prepares it and how?
A. The Holy Chrism is oil of the olive tree, and many other elements, which are prepared at the Ecumenical Patriarchate by boiling and are consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Constantinople, with all Bishops who happen to be present there, in a special ceremony which takes place on the Holy Thursday, beginning from Good Monday. This Chrism is afterward distributed to all the Orthodox Churches.
Q. Who instituted Chrism and how was it administered by the Apostles?
A. Jesus Christ, as appears from the Epistle to the Hebrews where the Sacrament of the Chrism is enumerated as a Dogma along with that of Baptism and the Resurrection of the Dead,
"Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands (Chrism), and of resurrection of the dead"...(Book of Hebrews, Chapter 6, Verse 2).
But it was performed by the Apostles by the laying on of their hands upon the baptized.
Q. Why was the Holy Chrism substituted for the laying on of hands?
A. Because when the Christians increased in numbers the Apostles and the Bishops instituted by them were not sufficient to perform this Sacrament.
Q. Is Chrism ever repeated?
A. Yes, when any member of the Church comes back to the Christian Church from another faith or heresy into which he had fallen.
Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance and what else is it called?
A. The Sacrament of Penance is a holy ceremony in which the sinner, repenting, confesses his sins to Christ before the Confessor, is forgiven, and reconciled with God again; it is also called the Sacrament of Confession.
Q. Through whom are sins forgiven? Has he the power to forgive sins? And by whom is he thus empowered?
A. Sins are forgiven through the Confessor who has this power from our Lord Jesus Christ, because our Lord gave it to His Apostles in the words:
"Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained."...(Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 20, Verses 22-23),
and they in turn gave it to their successors, and these to the Clergymen who were under them.
Q. By whom and when was this Sacrament instituted, and is it necessary for our salvation?
A. By our Lord, after His resurrection. It is necessary for our salvation because every man, after Baptism, falls into sin which stains the soul and is a transgression of the law of God. If therefore, this sin is not forgiven, the sinner cannot draw near to the Holy God; and is moreover, subject to punishment.
Q. Can a layman take the place of a Clergyman and act as Confessor?
A. Only in the didactic part of Confession; but not in the part relative to absolution, because he who is not a Cleric does not have the power from Christ to forgive.
Q. Can Confession be made directly to God?
A. It can. But it is neither wise nor safe, because the sinner by himself neither is able always to see his sins as the experienced eye of the Confessor sees them, nor can he obtain the necessary guidance, or pass judgement upon himself with full justice. Why therefore should the sinner not apply to the Spiritual Father, since Jesus Himself saw it to be right, and appointed him to be His representative with the power to bind and loose? It is as if we sought for justice directly from the President of the United States, while there are courts established for this purpose. Otherwise, if it were something better for us to confess directly to God, the Lord would have declared His law to that effect more simply and would not have placed the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops and the Clergymen between God and the repenting sinner.
Q. How is the purpose of Confession consumated?
A. Confession is consumated:
1. If the sinner feels his sins and sorrows because he had displeased God, who is his Father.
2. If he firmly resolves not to fall again into sin or into whatever he knows to be sinful.
3. If he confesses his sins with humility, sincerity, and accuracy, and does not hide anything of shame or fear, for this would be as though he sought to deceive God.
4. If he receives absolution from the Confessor as the latter reads over him the prayer for forgiveness.
5. If he accepts the penance which the Priest imposes on him, if any.
Q. What are the duties and the rights of the Confessor?
A. It is his duty not to speak of anything he hears in the Confession, (unless and when the penitent gives him permission), and to express his judgement and counsel in the most appropriate manner for the improvement of the penitent. And it is his right to impose pennances upon the penitent whenever he deems such penances necessary for his benefit.
Q. Has the one who has made the Confession the right to censure the Confessor for the penance which he has imposed?
A. The penitent is free to accept or reject the imposed penance but he has no right to criticize the Confessor, because Confession is not compulsory. One is not permitted to injure the reputation of a Confessor by whom many others may be benefited, if he himself does not so desire, to benefit by him because in this manner he injures many men in their greatest interest when such confession would be for their advantage, their moral improvement, and the salvation of their souls.
Q. What is the name of the penalties which the Confessor imposes?
A. Penances. Penances are restitutions for wrongs done, e.g. the surrender of things stolen or destroyed, righting of a reputation damaged, etc., or are theraputical measures against sin, as deprivation of Holy Communion for a certain time, imposition of fastings, prayers, reading useful books, performance of holy ceremonies and good deeds of a spiritual or corporeal nature. And the chief spiritual works are the following seven (7):
1. To admonish the sinner, 2. instruct the ignorant, 3. counsel the doubtful, 4. comfort the sorrowful, 5. head wrongs patiently, 6. forgive all injured, 7. and pray for the living and the dead.
Q. How can one come to the knowledge of his sins and be prepared for Confession?
A. By stopping to consider to what extent he has fulfilled his obligations to God, his neighbor, and to himself. (See the Decalogue, the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount).
Q. How can one who has confessed be helped in his or her decision not to fall again into the same sins?
A. 1. By his own strength in resisting temptation. 2. By Divine strength, by praying and seeking Divine help, by all the means of sanctification which the Church gives for the avoiding of temptations, surrendering wholly his free will to God, that He may direct it to his own advantage.
Q. Do the penances help the penitent to be corrected and why?
A. Yes, because:
1. He suffers on account of the toil or the money which he expends.
2. He feels a deeper repentance, and this psychological condition influences and strengthens his will, so that he resists sin more strongly and successfully in the future.
Q. What do we do when we present ourselves before the Confessor for Confession?
A. 1. We make the sign of the cross or kneel and kiss the Holy Picture of Christ.
2. We tell the Confessor the time of our last confession, and afterwards, we answer his questions briefly and simply, telling him only the sins committed since our last confession, without excuses.
3. We seek instructions and listen with attention to the counsels of the Confessor.
4. On going out, we kiss again the picture of Christ, thank God that He has counted us worthy to be cleansed again by the bath of repentance, and we beseech Him that He may preserve us from sudden death which does not afford us an opportunity for a last confession and the Holy Communion.
Page 53 ON THE SACRAMENT OF THE DIVINE EUCHARIST
Q. What is the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and what else is it called?
A. The Sacrament of the Divine Eucharist is a holy ceremony in which the Priest offers to God leavened bread and wine, and calls upon the Holy Spirit, who changes the bread into the body and the wine in to the blood of Christ. It is also called Holy Communion.
Q. Who instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, when and how?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Mystic (or last) Supper, when He ate with His Apostles on Holy Thursday at evening; namely the day before He was crucified. Then He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and said:
"Take, eat; this is my body". Then He took cup with wine, blessed it saying:
"Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."...(Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 26, Verses 26-28)
Q. Why did He institute it?
A. That the sacrifice of Jesus might be repeated in the Church and that through the communion of the body and blood of Christ believers might receive the following benefits:
1. That they might be united with Jesus, and by this union their past may be cleansed perfectly, their tendancy towards evil be weakened, and their tendency towards good be strengthened for the developing of a more perfect Christian life, and the eternal life which by sin was cut be regained.
2. That their bodies might be raised at the Second Coming of Christ, and assigned with the righteous to the enjoyment of eternal felicity.
Q. What is the name of the change which took place at the Mystic Supper, does it take place now, and by what power?
A. Transubstantiation, and it takes place now also by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Bishops and Priests.
Q. Do the Bishops and Priests receive such Grace?
A. Assuredly, because Jesus made the life of this Church to be age-long, so that He gave them to transmit to their successors, and for this reason He told them to teach the nations to observe whatsoever He had commanded them promising that He would be with them always until the end of the world. (Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 28, Verse 19)
Q. When does transubstantiation take place?
A. When the Choir sings,
"We praise Thee, we bless Thee",
then the Priest calls upon God saying:
"And make this bread the precious body of Thy Christ: and the wine in this cup the precious blood of Thy Christ, changing (them) by Thy Holy Spirit." (See Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom).
Q. Is the Sacrament of the Eucharist necessary and how often ought it to be received?
A. It is necessary, because Jesus said expressly:
"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." (Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6, Verse 53).
For this reason it is proper that we make our communion at least four times (4x) in the year, and also when we are sick or near death.
Q. Is there no danger that contagious diseases will be transferred from one to another, since the Divine Eucharist (Holy Communion) is received from the same spoon?
A. No, because:
1. From the human point of view, it is improbable at least for voluntary diseases, as those who voluntarily are sick with contagious diseases are not allowed by the Holy Canons and their conscience to take the Holy Communion, and furthermore, the alcohol of the wine is one of the best protective measures, according to the assurance and the practice of physicians.
2. From a Divine view, it is impossible that the Divine Power should leave exposed to dangers men who are doing that which the God-man commanded them as necessary for the salvation of the soul. Because otherwise all the Priests and Deacons would fall victims to contagious diseases, since they must always drink all that remains in the Holy cup after all the faithful have received the Holy Communion. Therefore, it is a vain fear which some of our faithful have, that they might contract germs from the Holy Communion, and they must strengthen their faith at least by the logic of the facts themselves.
Q. Is it well to commune oftener, and how ought to be prepared for it?
A. What is better than that we should receive unto us as often as possible the Lord of life and all grace and blessing: provided only that we prepare ourselves fittingly because:
"He that eateth and drinketh unworthily receiveth condemnation unto himself" (I Corinthians, Chapter 11, Verse 29)
and we are prepared by fasting and confession.
Q. Is anyone exempted from this preparation? (fasting and confession)
A. 1. No one is exempted from confession.
2. However, the Clerics, the sick, and travelers are exempt from fasting:
The Clergy because it would be necessary for them to fast almost continuously, as they celebrate the Divine Liturgy and consequently partake of the Holy Communion almost every day;
The sick, because their health does not permit fasting;
The travelers because they cannot find lenten fare.
But Clergymen as well as the sick and travelers must at least fast spiritually, which is possible to all and requires more than abstinence from certain foods.
Q. From what Holy Bread do the sick receive?
A. From the Holy Bread which is consecrated on Holy Thursday, and is kept through the whole year in an appropriate place called the Holy Bread Box.
Q. Is it proper that the Holy Bread should be adored even after the Divine Liturgy?
A. Yes, because once it has become changed, it cannot cease to be the body and blood of the Lord.
Q. What facts worthy of notice are to be pointed out in the Divine Eucharist?
A. 1. That after the change, while we see and taste bread and wine, these two elements are substantially the body and blood of Christ.
2. That while each Christian receives a part only of the body and blood he receives all of Christ.
Q. Is the Divine Eucharist simply a ceremony? And for whom is it performed?
A. No. It is a true propitiatory sacrifice because it is the same sacrifice of Golgotha, with this difference:
the sacrifice on Golgotha was offered once and with blood, that the Divine Justice might be satisfied for the original sin,
the sacrifice of the Divine Eucharist, while it is the same, is performed constantly and without blood, and for this reason is called bloodless sacrifice, and the Holy Table on which it is offered, an Altar and is offered, every time to glorify the supreme love and condescension of God to man and, in its other aspect, that Divine Justice might be satisfied for the personal sins of those for whom it is offered. It is offered in honour and in memory of the Saints, and for the forgiveness of the sins of the living and dead members of the Church.
Q. Is it permitted that more than one Liturgy (Holy Mass) be performed on the same day by one Priest and on one and the same Altar?
A. No; a different Priest and a different Altar must be used for each Liturgy.
Page 58 HOLY ORDERS
Q. What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
A. A Holy ceremony, at which the Bishop lays his hands upon the head of the one who is being ordained, and calls upon God for the Grace of the Holy Spirit, which comes down and makes him able to confer upon faithful men the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to perform, in general, the duties of the Priesthood.
Q. Who instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders and when, and how has it been transmitted to us?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, when He said to His Apostles:
"As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you ... Receive ye the Holy Spirit; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained." ...(Gospel of St. John, Chapter 20, Verses 21-23)
It was transmitted by the Apostles to men whom they had prepared and ordained by a special ceremony, and they established them as Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons to perform the functions of the Priesthood, giving only to the Bishops alone the power and authority to continue the work of conferring Holy Orders according to the needs of the Church.
(I Timothy, Chapter 4, Verse 14 and II Timothy, Chapter 1, Verse 6), (Tutus, Chapter 1, Verse 5), (Acts, Chapter 14, Verse 23), (Acts, Chapter 6, Verse 6).
Q. What is necessary for one to be ordained worthily?
A. To be an Orthodox Christian, walking orderly in the Church, to have the necessary branches of knowledge and moral character, to be in good physical condition, and to have an inclination and a call to His Holy work; the ordaining Bishop must be canonical and have the license to ordain.
Q. What are the degrees of the Priesthood and what are they all called in common?
A. The degrees of the Priesthood are three (3):
1. Bishop or Archpriest, 2. Presbyter or Priest, and 3. Deacon.
They are all called in common the Holy Clergy.
Q. What are the duties and rights of each Order?
A. The rights and duties of the Bishop are:
1. to preach the word of God, 2. to administer the Sacraments, 3. to perform the different Holy Services and Holy Functions, and 4. to govern the Clergy and Laity who are under him: that is to care for their Ecclesiastical affairs and necessities.
Those of a Presbyter are all that the Bishop has with his permission, except that of ordination and the consecration of the Holy Chrism and of the Churches and the higher Ecclesiastical Discipline.
The Deacon cannot do anything of himself, he only helps the Bishop or the Presbyter.
Q. How many and what Bishops are needed for canonical ordination and consecration?
A. For the consecration of a Bishop, three (3), and in the absence of three, at least two (2). For the ordination of a Presbyter or Deacon, one (1) suffices. But the ordaining Bishops must be able to trace their Episcopal consecration unbroken from the Apostles and have the license to ordain from their immediate Superior Ecclesiastical Authority.
Q. Is it permitted canonically for a Bishop to ordain Priests or Deacons, and in general to officiate everywhere?
A. No, only in his own Diocese. He may officiate in the Diocese of another only with the special permission of the local Bishop.
Q. Is ordination repeated on the same person?
A. For higher orders only. For example, a Deacon is ordained Priest, but cannot be again ordained Deacon, even though he has been deposed, and on repentance, restored, But the Orthodox Church can receive by economy Clerics of heretical Churches who acknowledge Baptism and Holy Orders as Sacraments and have the uninterrupted Apostolical succession, without ordaining them anew, e.g. the Clergymen of the Papal, Anglican, Bulgarian, etc. Churches. But the Clerics of those Churches which do not acknowledge Holy Orders as a Sacrament or have not the uninterrupted succession, and those Clerics who were ordained by a deposed Orthodox Bishop she ordains when they come into the Orthodox Church, because they are wholly without ordination.
Q. Can a Cleric be married and when is his marriage performed?
A. As the Canons of the Orthodox Church stand today, only a Deacon or a Presbyter can be married, but not a Bishop, unless his marriage be disolved before his consecration as a Bishop, either by death, or by mutual consent of husband or wife. And the marriage is performed previous to the receiving of Holy Orders.
Q. What is the Sacrament of Marriage and who instituted it?
A. A Holy ceremony in which Divine Grace is communicated to those who are being joined together so that they may fulfill their duties to one another as to their children. God instituted it when He made our First Parents, and Christ consecrated it. (Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 19, Verses 5-6) (Gospel of St. Mark, Chapter 10, Verses 5-9).
Q. What are the duties of those so united?
A. The duties of the man are:
to love and cherish his wife and children, correcting their faults and guiding the family to happiness,
those of the wife:
to love her husband, be subject to him and help as a good stewardess, avoiding all that destroys the home.
The duties of both together are:
mutual honour, the improvement of each other in love, and the Christian education of their children, both in mind and heart.
Q. What are the most essential elements of marriage?
A. The following:
1. Mutual consent of the affianced (man and woman).
2. Expression of that consent before the officiating Clergyman and all the guests at the beginning of the ceremony, and promise that they will give each other mutual help and love throughout all their life, both in favorable and unfavorable circumstances.
3. Consecration of these agreements by the proper Clergyman by means of the Ecclesiastical ceremony of marriage.
Q. Is there any other marriage except the religious one?
A. In the countries where the Church is separated from the State, in addition to the Religious Marriage, there is also a Legal Act which is called Civil Marriage.
Q. Is Civil Marriage recognized everywhere?
A. In the Orthodox States (e.g. Greece, Serbia, Roumania, etc.), Civil Marriage is not recognized. In these countries, the State does not have separate Civil Marriage, but only the Religious one, and in particular, only that one which is performed according to the Canons of the Church to which the married couple belong.
Q. Is a Religious Marriage recognized in the United States of America by the State?
1. If and as long as the Clergyman who performs the marriage is in good standing with his Church.
2. If the affianced have obtained a license from the City Hall.
3. If the Clergyman who performs the marriage fills out the license and returns it to the City Hall after the performance of the Sacrament.
Q. What requirements must be fulfilled for a Marriage?
A. The following:
a) Before Marriage:
1. The affianced must get a license from a City Hall of the State where the marriage is to be performed.
2. The affianced must appear before the Priest of their Parish and sign a bond that there is no impediment against the performance of said Marriage, and give him the license from the City Hall.
3. The Priest must get a license from the canonical Bishop of their Diocese, the Priest making an application to the Bishop.
4. The affianced must receive the Holy Communion fasting, after they have been to Confession and have received the counsel of the Spiritual father for the new life into which they enter.
b) At the Marriage:
1. The marriage must be performed according to the rites of the Orthodox Church.
c) After Marriage:
1. The officiating Priest must fill out and sign the certificate of the license from the City Hall and any other document customarily given with the license to be filled out, and return all of them to the same City Hall to be entered in the records of the City.
2. The Priest who has performed the marriage must enter it into the Church records.
Q. What are the impediments to Marriage?
A. The following:
1. Difference in religion.
2. Relationship which is of four (4) kinds:
a.) by blood, b.) by marriage, c.) Spiritual through baptism, and d.) legal by adoption.
Q. What is the Sacrament of Holy Unction?
A. A ceremony in which the Priest consecrates oil and anoints the sick that he may be healed of the sickness of body and soul, and that his sins may be forgiven.
Q. Who instituted it and where is its purpose shown?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as appears from the command of the Apostle James:
"Is there any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." ...(James, Chapter 5, Verses 14-15)
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