Greek Orthodox Christian Faith Overview
What is the Greek Orthodox Church exactly? At its simplest, it is understood to be the very church that Jesus Christ instructed his disciples to assemble and is founded on His teachings. Because the Church Fathers want to keep this legacy intact, the church hasn’t changed much over the centuries. What follows is an overview of the Orthodox Christian faith.
The Orthodox Faith is based entirely on scripture and this includes both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, we read about the history of the Hebrew people, prophecies, and other important writings such as the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, we learn about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Together, the scripture readings form the basis of our beliefs as Orthodox Christians.
Holy Tradition encompasses all the writings, teachings, and wisdom of the Orthodox Faith. Even though this does include scripture, Holy Tradition encompasses much more than that. It includes all the writings and teachings of Christ, the apostles, martyrs, founding fathers, and Ecumenical Councils. It is important for all Orthodox Christians to understand everything that encompasses Holy Tradition so they can better understand their faith.
During each Divine Liturgy service, The Faithful recites the Nicene Creed, which is a profession of faith. Though the Creed may seem simple, it is really a comprehensive explanation of the Orthodox Christian faith. Each time they say the creed, Orthodox Christians make a statement about what their beliefs really are.
The Seven Sacraments
In order for Orthodox Christians to fully participate in their faith, they need to engage in the Seven Sacraments on a regular basis. These are in place to help The Faithful get closer to God.
These four sacraments are required of every Orthodox Christian.
- Baptism – This is the first sacrament performed and is the official beginning of the Christian life. Because of baptism, the old life (original sin) is washed away and a new one (a life in Christ) begins.
- Chrismation – This is performed during a Christening, right after baptism. Like baptism, it is only completed once. This sacrament results in receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Communion – Through Holy Communion, the recipient receives the Body and Blood of Christ.
- Confession – When engaging in this sacrament, Christians confess their sins to God in order to repent.
These three sacraments are optional:
- Matrimony – Not everyone is called to marriage. However, those who do marry enter into a new relationship of love with not only each other, but also with God.
- Holy Orders – This sacrament is for those men who are called into a life for the church through ordination as priests, deacons, bishops, and monks.
- Holy Unction – This is also known as “anointing the sick”. In this sacrament, Orthodox Christians are anointed with oil.
As an Orthodox Christian, you are part of a legacy that Christ himself began. By becoming active in our churches, we not only honor His teachings but also glorify God and His kingdom.
Categorized in: Greek Orthodox Religious Information
This post was written by Greek Boston