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Orthodox Faith

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

The Orthodox Faith begins to emerge from the moment of our Lord's Ascension, and remains true to the revelation it receives on the Day of Pentecost.

Orthodoxy is word that means both 'right worship' and 'right belief', from the earliest days of the Church, both of these characteristics have been fundamental to how we live and function.

Continuity across time

Orthodox life and faith is in full continuity with the life and faith of the ancient Church. Indeed, Orthodoxy simply is the ancient Church in the contemporary world.

At every Orthodox Divine Liturgy, we recite the Nicene Creed in its original form - without addition or subtraction - as a statement of precisely what it is we believe, but also as a manifestation of our connection with the Christians who have lived before us. This creed, first composed at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and completed at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381, became the touchstone against which the Church could declare its understanding of who God is (One God in Three Persons) and who Jesus Christ both is and was (the Second Person of the Trinity, born of the Virgin Mary, fully divine and fully human). Not only do we still believe these things, we seek to live out their implications every day.

The faith in everyday life

The Orthodox Faith is not a series of abstract propositions or ideas. It is not enough for an Orthodox Christian to say 'oh yeah, I believe that'. For true Orthodoxy demands that we become changed, and that our lives become oriented to union with God. Of course, this means acting with love in our daily activities, seeking to reconcile when we set obstacles in the way between us and God, between us and other people, or when we become a stumbling block between others and God. It also means living a life of prayer, and engaging in the worship of the Church - which entails, first and foremost, participation in the Lord's Body and Blood by means of Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy.

A mystical experience

By means of our participation in the life of the Church, we become transformed, and so does the world around us.

The process by which we are transformed is called in Orthodoxy, 'deification' or 'theosis', and it means to 'become like God', as taken from 2 Peter 1:4 in which the apostle says, '... by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature...'. Likewise, at the end of the second century, St Irenaeus of Lyons declared, 'God became as we are in order that we might become as He is'. And together, these remarkable statements help us to understand that to be an Orthodox Christian is no mundane task. The Orthodox Church is not just an institution to which we belong; it is, rather, a living body of which we become a part, and by which we make our way into God's life to such an extent that we can come to see things more like God does: in beauty and truth and love.

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