Our Church-What Do We Believe - Smiocbristol
The key themes underlined in the Orthodox faith are:
We believe and proclaim our faith in the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one.
Our trust is in the Triune God, everything belongs to him and we too have our existence from Him. God, the creator of the Universe sent his son for the salvation of mankind. All power in heaven and on earth is given to Him and through his crucifixion, Christ triumphed over death and evil, bringing glory to his Father. After the resurrection, the Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts as a life-giver, sanctifier and perfecter. It is He who commences the forgiveness of sins, removes barriers between God and mankind, makes His people more holy and God-like, and brings us together to perfection. The Holy Spirit works in the Church, through His special gifts and graces, builds up the body of Christ and makes its members holy.
The great significance of the Church is in the Son of God becoming flesh. It is this community that not only witnesses Christ but also is the abode of Christ. Church, the dwelling place of Christ is the place where the life-giving power of the Spirit is at work. It is not merely a community of believers, but it is a truth that spans heaven and earth, the risen Christ himself as the chief keystone, the apostles, and prophets as the foundation, and all who belong to Christ from Adam to second coming being members of this one, holy catholic apostolic community. The manifestation of One Church hears the Word of God and participates in the Eucharistic through one eternal sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
In every Eucharist, we remember the departed as a whole, and especially the Apostles, great teachers, and spiritual leaders who have helped us to grow and flourish, protect the Church from blasphemy and deviation.
We ask the Saints to intercede for us commemorating their past and present role in the one Church of Jesus Christ. Of the great Saints in the Church, the first (after Christ) and the unique place goes to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for she was the first to hear the Gospel of the Incarnation of our Lord from the Archangel, and to receive Him, on behalf of all of us. She is the mother of Christ, and thus the mother of all the faithful who is one with Christ.
Salvation for us came through the son, separates evil and enhances growth in the good. It allows us to become more and more God-like in love, power, and wisdom. This is what the Holy Spirit makes achievable. What is humanly impossible becomes reality by the grace and power of God. The participation in Christ’s body and His being and nature becomes possible through the grace of God, by the Holy Spirit, through whom the “mysteries of the Church” – Sacraments are revealed. The Gospel is the Word of Life, the proclamation of life and salvation to the world. We revere the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God, and in all our prayers, as well as the services of the mysteries of the Church are saturated with Biblical reference, and always completed by the public reading of the Scriptures. We do not make images of the unseen God. We consecrate icons to mediate to the worshipping community the presence of the Saints, and the saving events of our Lord’s incarnate life.
For us Tradition is not something old, static, and life-less; it is the life of the Church as a counting body, with the presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit in it. It includes knowledge of Christ, the teaching of the Apostles, the doctrine of the Saints and Fathers, the practices of worship developed by the community of faith, its way of doing things and practising love. Our worship as a community is the centre of our life, not our articulations of faith. It is there that the Church, united with Christ, participates in Christ’s self-offering for the world. Our daily life flows out from worship and must be a life of love and compassion, caring for the needy, struggling against evil, serving the poor. Our hope is focused on Christ’s second coming, which would eradicate evil and eliminate death, giving us life, so that goodness can triumph eternally and grow forever. In that coming, there will be a reconstitution of the universe; all things shall be made new. Death and darkness would be finally overcome; light and life and love will triumph. It is our task to bear witness to this final reality, while living it out here and now, as much as we can.