What is the Orthodox Church?

What is the Orthodox Church?

Properly speaking, there is no such thing as “the Orthodox Church.” This is used by convention to refer to a body of fourteen autonomous, local churches, united by a common faith, worship, and Eucharistic fellowship. Each of these local churches together comprise the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. In recent memory, the […]

The Strength of Oral Tradition

The Strength of Oral Tradition

In a world characterized by the rationalism of the Enlightenment and the instant knowledge of Google, it’s hard to believe things have not always been so. In the ancient world, ideas, customs, stories, and even history were committed primarily not to books, but rather memorized through both poetry and song. They were preserved through oral tradition. And of […]

Orthodox Saints and the Ecumenical Movement

Orthodox Saints and the Ecumenical Movement

For Christians, the criterion of truth is fidelity to Christ and the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The Saints, being wholly united to Christ by the Spirit in his holy Church, in turn become the empirical datum par excellence by which truth is measured. This is why, for Orthodox Christians, […]

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part One)

Iconoclasm: The Heresy of Heresies (Part 1)

It’s not surprising that iconoclasm persists in contemporary Christian culture, and especially in America. Without a proper understanding of both the Incarnation and the deeper purpose of creation—throughout which God is ‘everywhere present and filling all things’—we are left with a worldview that is distorted. With no emperor or royal family to honor, we venerate celebrities, pornographers, amoral politicians, and […]

The Canon of Christ

The Canon of Christ

For the earliest Christians—the first two generations or more—the ‘Bible’ was what we now call the Old Testament. The ‘memoirs of the apostles’ and four canonical Gospels spread more widely by the middle of the second century, but before this there was no consensus on which scriptures of the New Testament were canonical. This is […]

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 Triumph of Jesus Christ in the Triumph of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Jesus Christ

The first Sunday of Great Lent is celebrated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This is connected with the victory of the iconodules (those who supported the veneration of sacred images) over the iconoclasts (those who opposed their veneration). The heart of the victory of Orthodoxy in the restoration of iconography—as well as our veneration of […]

Reading Scripture in Tradition: Why Sola Scriptura Doesn’t Work

readingscriptureintradition

Orthodox Christians do not hold to the Reformation principle of Sola scriptura. Instead, we view the scriptures as the pinnacle or “summit”1 of holy tradition, neither separating the two as wholly distinct, nor eliminating one or the other. The reason for this is simple: the scriptures are a witness to divine revelation, given from God to mankind […]

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’ […]