Greetings in the Name of our Lord, God & Saviour Jesus Christ!
Not so much Frequently Asked Questions as some thoughts about Orthodoxy for those who are interested.
Many thousands have made the journey from where they are into the Orthodox Christian Faith. We are sometimes referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church (after all, Christianity is an eastern faith) or sometimes by the nation they are in, i.e. Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Japanese Orthodox, etc.
It is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is original issue Christianity and the Orthodox Church is Orthodox in doctrine, morals, and worship. If you are looking for an orthodox Christian Church, this is it!
A Brief History of Orthodoxy
The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. Incredible as it seems, for over twenty centuries she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship, and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ.
Many of us are surprised to learn that for the first 1000 years of Christian history there was just one Church. It was in the eleventh century that a disastrous split occurred between Orthodox East and Latin West. Although it had been brewing for years, the so-called “Great Schism” of 1054 represented a formal—and shocking— separation between Rome and Orthodoxy. At the core of the controversy were two vitally important areas of disagreement: the role of the papacy, and the manner in which doctrine is to be interpreted. One writer has compared Orthodoxy to the faith of Rome and Protestantism in this basic fashion: Orthodoxy has maintained the New Testament tradition, whereas Rome has often added to it and Protestantism subtracted from it.
For example, Rome added to the ancient Creed of the Church, while numerous Protestant Churches rarely study or recite it. Rome has layers of ecclesiastical authority; much of Protestantism is anti-hierarchical or even “independent” in polity. Rome introduced indulgences and purgatory; in reaction, Protestantism shies away from good works and discipline.
The Pathway To Becoming An Orthodox Christian
Relax! It is a joyful and well trodden path, with many souls who have made this journey before you, and many more to come after you. Therefore, let’s start with the basics:
Step One: Conversion to Christ-To start with, one has to believe, accept, and be seeking Christ.
Step Two: Repentance-Like the Prodigal, one must rise-up and return to the Father. Those who have made this journey are sincerely seeking and desiring salvation.
Step Three: Find an Orthodox Church and then “Come and See”. Your situation is not unique. You may be making this journey of faith alone. You may be coming with family or with friends. You may be a pastor leading your flock to the Safe Haven. Whatever your situation is, you can be assured that many have come that way before you.
Step Four: The Catechumenate- When one desires to become a member of the Body of Christ, a period of instruction is necessary. One then must commit to being instructed and prepared for entry into the Church.
Step Five: Entry into the Church-Your entrance into the Church will culminate with the service of Baptism and/or Chrismation, and receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Fr. Paul is happy to answer any questions you might have. If you have a question or want more information call Fr Paul on 0414 231 461 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org of use our Facebook page
A Few Pointers
In an effort to help alleviate confusion, here are some pointers that might help you when you visit us!
1.The church is a sacred and holy place filled with sights, smells, and sounds.
2.We stand up for most of the service.
3.We make the sign of the cross frequently.
4.We touch and kiss things.
5.Everyone may receive the blessed bread at the end of the service however only Baptised and Chrismated Orthodox Christians can take Holy Communion.
6.About 75% of the service is congregational singing.
7.The Sunday Divine Liturgy lasts about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
8.We regard Mary as the “Theotokos” or “Mother of God” and we honour and reverence her as first among the Saints.
9.You don’t have to be of any particular ethnic background, or speak a foreign language, or know a foreign language to come to a Orthodox Church. Everyone is welcome.
10.Orthodoxy is better “caught than taught” so come and see!