ORTHODOX HEART SITES
Fr. Seraphim Bell, Scotland & USA:
“I became Orthodox for one reason: Obedience to the Truth”
These Truths We Hold
The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings
The following articles on Orthodoxy are from the book, These Truths We Hold – The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings, published by and available from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press:
Back to the First Church
Finding the New Testament Church
Written by Jon E. Braun, Edited by Bishop Alexander Mileant
THERE IS A PREDICTABLY RELIABLE WAY to tackle the problem of who is right. Rather than trying to decide which of the over 2,500 Christian groups in North America keeps the original faith best by studying what they are like right now, we can start from the beginning of the Church itself and work our way through history to the present.
The birthday of the Church was Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended on the twelve Apostles in the Upper Room. That day some 3,000 souls believed in Christ and were baptized. When the first Christian community began, “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread (Communion), and in prayers” (Act 2:42).
From Jerusalem, the faith in Christ spread throughout Judea, to Samaria (Acts 8), to Antioch and the Gentiles (Acts 13), where we find new converts and new churches throughout Asia Minor and other countries of the Roman Empire.
From the pages of the Epistles and the book of Acts, we learn that the Church was not simply another organization in Roman society. The Lord Jesus Christ had given the promise of the Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). That promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, when the Church was given birth as an divine institution far above all earthly organizations. In Ephesians (Eph. 2:21) St. Paul called it “a holy temple of the Lord.” The Church was a dynamic organism, the living Body of Jesus Christ. She made an indelible impact in the world, and those who became part of her were inwardly renewed.
But we also discover in the New Testament itself that the Church had her share of problems. All was not perfection. Individuals in the Church sought to lead her off the path the Apostles established, and they had to be dealt with along with the errors they invented. Even whole local communities lapsed on occasion and had to be called to repentance. The Church in Laodicea is a vivid example (Revelation ch. 3). Discipline was administered for the sake of purity in the Church. But there was growth and a maturing even as the Church was attacked from within and without. The same Spirit who gave her birth gave her power to correct and purify her members. The Church grew and became strong until she eventually covered the whole of the Roman Empire.
Origin of the Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church began at Pentecost. It was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, when after His Ascension, He sent down upon His Apostles the Holy Spirit who proceeds from God the Father as is written in the New Testament. The Orthodox Church of today can trace its history back to the New Testament Church in unbroken continuity. The Apostles, as per our Lord’s command, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and founded churches in Europe, Asia and Africa. Under the direction of the Apostles and their successors, whom they appointed to carry on their mission, the Orthodox Church began to thrive. At each city and town that the Apostles traveled they would appoint a bishop to continue to minister to the faithful, before leaving on their missionary journeys. As the Church grew, the bishops in turn had to appoint priests and deacons to help them with their flock.
- Origin of the Orthodox Church
- The Orthodox Church in the First Centuries after Christ
- The Spread of Orthodox Christianity
- The Great Schism: Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism
- Continuity vs Reformation
- Orthodoxy in America
- The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America
The Orthodox Faith
- Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- The Virgin Mary
- The Bible
- Holy Tradition
- The Sacraments
- The Clergy and the Laity
Written by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
The Orthodox Faith series is intended to provide basic, comprehensive information on the faith and life of the Orthodox Church. It consists of four volumes and is available for purchase from SVS Press.
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (1939–2015) was professor of dogmatic theology and served as dean of St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Alongside his numerous books and articles, Father Thomas was also renowned as a gifted speaker and homilist.
Volume 1 contains three sections: the sources of Christian Doctrine, the main doctrines of the Orthodox Church present by way of commentary on the Nicene Creed, and an explanation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
Volume 2 contains 5 sections
Volume 3 contains one section on the contents and interpretation of the Bible, and one section on the history of the Church, emphasizing the main theological, liturgical and spiritual development of each century.
Volume 4 deals with the main themes of Christian Life: prayer, fasting, repentance, the virtues, witness in the world, and communion with God.
ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA