Ecumenism and Christianity Today

Ecumenism and Christianity Today

Christians confess a belief in one Church in the Nicene Creed. By this, it is believed that Christ founded a single, visible, historical community that is his Church, and he fervently prayed that the Church be one (John 17). If this is the case, why are there many different Christian churches, with a trend towards greater and […]

The Church is a Mystery, Not an Institution

The Church is a Mystery

The Church is a Mystery with institutions, not an institution with Mysteries. This a phrase I once heard on a podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko, and I can’t think of many phrases this short and as equally profound. To put it in more Western terms, the Church is a sacrament, not an institution with sacraments; the Church […]

Is Orthodoxy a Stagnant Faith?

Is Orthodoxy a Stagnant Faith?

At the conclusion of a recent synaxis of Orthodox hierarchs in Istanbul (March 6–9, 2014), an announcement was made that the local Orthodox churches would gather for a pan-Orthodox synod in the Spring of 2016. At this synod, a number of issues facing the global Orthodox Church will be addressed, and many of them long-coming. […]

The Church is Apostolic

The Church is Apostolic

The fourth attribute of the Church is ‘apostolicity.’ According to the Greek tradition, salvation involves the transformation of a sinner into the likeness of God; it is to become by grace what Christ is by nature. This perspective of salvation, called theosis or deification, is at the heart of what it means to say the […]

The Church is Catholic

The Church is Catholic

The third ‘attribute’ of the Church is catholicity. In Russian, this is sometimes Собо́рность or sobornost, meaning ‘symphony’ or a unity of consciousness. In this, the conciliar essence of the Church is emphasized, though the meaning of catholic goes deeper than conciliarity alone—the monarchical unity of the Church is also essential, a reflection of the […]

Guarding the Chalice

Guarding the Chalice

When a faith is highly traditional—so traditional that her Tradition is seen as nothing less than the presence of God living and breathing in the life of the Church—it is sure to clash with the sensibilities of a modern, critical, and pluralistic culture such as our own. One of the many sources of friction between the Orthodox Church […]

The Church is Holy

The Church is Holy

The second ‘attribute’ of the Church in the Nicene Creed is holiness. We believe in a Church that is not only singular and unique, but also sacred and unlike any other ‘organization’ or gathering in the world. Given that the Church is the true and very Body of Christ—with Jesus as her Head and chief […]

The Church is One

The Church is One

For centuries, the Nicene Creed has been used as a basis or outline for organized theological reflection. In the clause amended to the creed at the Second Ecumenical Council (A.D. 381), the faithful began confessing a belief in “one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” Rather than comment on the creed as a whole, I want to […]

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

In the Apostle’s Creed (an early Roman baptismal statement of faith) a person confesses belief in “the communion of saints.” While this creed is not widely used in the East, it is important that we understand the communion of saints as a matter of both ontology and incarnation—it is related to the essence or ‘being’ […]

The Attributes of the Church by St. Justin Popovich

The Attributes of the Church by St. Justin Popovich

I have drunk heavily from the following words for the better part of the last two years. It helped transform my spiritual life, my understanding of the Church and Her purpose as the Body of Christ, and my appreciation for Orthodoxy as a light in the relativistic darkness of the modern era. An excerpt from The […]