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
An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
by St John Damascene
The Complete Text
- BOOK I CHAPTER I
- That the Deity is incomprehensible, and that we ought not to pry into and meddle with tire things which have not been delivered to us by the holy Prophets, and Apostles, and Evangelists.
- BOOK I CHAPTER II
- Concerning things utterable and things unutterable, and things knowable and thinks unknowable.
- BOOK I CHAPTER III
- Proof that there is a God.
- BOOK I CHAPTER IV
- Concerning the nature of Deity: that it is incomprehensible.
- BOOK I CHAPTER V
- Proof that God is one and not many.
- BOOK I CHAPTER VI
- Concerning the Word and the San of God: a reasoned proof.
- BOOK I CHAPTER VII
- Concerning the Holy Spirit, a reasoned proof.
- BOOK I CHAPTER VIII
- Concerning the Holy Trinity.
- BOOK I CHAPTER IX
- Concerning what is affirmed about God.
- BOOK I CHAPTER X
- Concerning divine union and separation.
- BOOK I CHAPTER XI
- Concerning what is affirmed about God as though He had body.
- BOOK I CHAPTER XII
- Concerning the Same.
- BOOK I CHAPTER XIII
- Concerning the place of God: and that the Deity alone is uncircumscribed.
- BOOK I CHAPTER XIV
- The properties of the divine nature.
- BOOK II CHAPTER I
- Concerning aeon or age.
- BOOK II CHAPTER II
- Concerning the creation.
- BOOK II CHAPTER IlI
- Concerning angels.
- BOOK II CHAPTER IV
- Concerning the devil and demons.
- BOOK II CHAPTER V
- Concerning the visible creation.
- BOOK II CHAPTER VI
- Concerning the Heaven.
- BOOK II CHAPTER VII
- Concerning light, fire, the luminaries, sun, moon and stars.
- BOOK II CHAPTER VIII
- Concerning air and winds.
- BOOK II CHAPTER IX
- Concerning the waters.
- BOOK II CHAPTER X
- Concerning earth and its products.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XI
- Concerning Paradise.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XII
- Concerning Man.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XIII
- Concerning Pleasures.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XIV
- Concerning Pain.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XV
- Concerning Fear.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XVI
- Concerning Anger.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XVII
- Concerning Imagination.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XVIII
- Concerning Sensation.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XIX
- Concerning Thought.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XX
- Concerning Memory.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXI
- Concerning Conception and Articulation.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXII
- Concerning Passion and Energy.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXIII
- Concerning Energy.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXIV
- Concerning what is Voluntary anal what is Involuntary.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXV
- Concerning what is in our own power, that is, concerning Free-will(9).
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXVI
- Of events(5), some are in our hands, others are not.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXVII
- Concerning the reason of our endowment with Free-will.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXVIII
- Concerning what is not in our hands.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXIX
- Concerning Providence.
- BOOK II CHAPTER XXX
- Concerning Prescience and Predestination.
- BOOK III CHAPTER I
- Concerning the Divine OEconomy and God’s care over us, and concerning our salvation.
- BOOK III CHAPTER II
- Concerning the manner in which the Word(9) was conceived, and concerning His divine incarnation.
- BOOK III CHAPTER III
- Concerning Christ’s two natures, in apposition to those who hold that He has only one(2).
- BOOK III CHAPTER IV
- Concerning the manner of the Mutual Communication(8).
- BOOK III CHAPTER V
- Concerning the number of the Natures.
- BOOK III CHAPTER VI
- That in one of its subsistences the divine nature is united in its entirety to the human nature, in its entirety and not only part to part.
- BOOK III CHAPTER VII
- Concerning the one compound subsistence of God the Word.
- BOOK III CHAPTER VIII
- In reply to those who ask whether(7) the natures of the Lord are brought under a continuous or a discontinuous quantity(8).
- BOOK III CHAPTER IX
- In reply to the question whether there is Nature that has no Subsistence.
- BOOK III CHAPTER X
- Concerning the Trisagium (“the Thrice Holy”).
- BOOK III CHAPTER XI
- Concerning the Nature as viewed in Species and in Individual, and concerning the difference between Union and Incarnation: and how this is to be understood, “The one Nature of God the Word Incarnate.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XII
- That the holy Virgin is the Mother of God: an argument directed against the Nestorians.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XIII
- Concerning the properties of the two Natures.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XIV
- Concerning the volitions and free-will of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XV
- Concerning the energies in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XVI
- In reply to those who say(7) “If man has two natures and two energies, Christ must be held to have three natures and as many energies.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XVII
- Concerning the deification of the nature of our Lord’s flesh and of Hi’s will.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XVIII
- Further concerning volitions and free-wills: minds, too, and knowledges and wisdoms.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XIX
- Concerning the theandric energy.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XX
- Concerning the natural and innocent passions(2a).
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXI
- Concerning ignorance and servitude.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXII
- Concerning His growth.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXIII
- Concerning His Fear.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXIV
- Concerning our Lord’s Praying.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXV
- Concerning the Appropriation.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXVI
- Concerning the Passion of our Lord’s body, and the Impassibility of His divinity.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXVII
- Concerning the fact that the divinity of the Word remained inseparable from the soul and the body, even at our Lord’s death, and that His subsistence continued one.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXVIII
- Concerning Corruption and Destruction.
- BOOK III CHAPTER XXIX
- Concerning the Descent to Hades.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER I
- Concerning what followed the Resurrection.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER II
- Concerning the sitting at the right hand of the Father.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER III
- In reply to those who say(5) “If Christ has two natures, either ye do service to the creature in worshipping created nature, or ye say that there is one nature to be worshipped, and another not to be worshipped.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER IV
- Why it was the Son of God, and not the Father or the Spirit, that became man: and what having became man He achieved.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER V
- In reply to those who ask if Christ’s subsistence is create or uncreate.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER VI
- Concerning the question, when Christ was called.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER VII
- In answer to those who enquire whether the holy Mother of God bore two natures, and whether two natures hung upon the Crass.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER VIII
- How the Only-begotten Son of God is called first-born.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER IX
- Concerning Faith and Baptism.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XII
- Concerning Worship towards the East.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XIII
- Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XIV
- Concerning our Lord’s genealogy and concerning the holy Mother of God(4).
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XV
- Concerning the honour due to the Saints and their remains.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XVI
- Concerning Images(8).
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XVII
- Concerning Scripture(8).
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XVIII
- Regarding the things said concerning Christ.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XIX
- That God(7) is not the cause of evils.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XX
- That there are not two Kingdoms.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXI
- The purpose(2) for which God in His foreknowledge created persons who would sin and not repent.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXII
- Concerning the law of God and the law of sin.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXIII
- Against the Jews on the question Sabbath.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXIV
- Concerning Virginity.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXV
- Concerning the Circumcision.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXVI
- It should be known that the Antichrist is hound to come.
- BOOK IV CHAPTER XXVII
- Concerning the Resurrection.