I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Holy Trinity
There are three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – in one God. While separate and distinct personally, each
- shares fully and equally in the divine nature and will;
- is equally infinite, perfect, all-powerful, all knowing, ever-existing, and eternally the same; and
- is united to the other persons of the Trinity in perfect Love.
The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which has been professed by Orthodox Christians since the fourth century, summarizes the Church’s teaching on the Holy Trinity.
- God the Father is the Source of all things, the “Maker of heaven and earth and all things
visible and invisible.” The Father sent
- God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world “for us men and for our salvation.” Jesus Christ is “the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages.” He took on our human nature and became man – while not forsaking His divinity. He was “crucified for us under Pontius Pilate … and on the third day He rose again … and He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Jesus Christ, then, is our Savior, Who leads humanity into God’s eternal Kingdom.
- God the Holy Spirit is “the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets.”
Holy Scripture is the inspired word of God and the written record of His revelation.
- The Old Testament relates the manner in which God prepared the world for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.
- The New Testament completes and fulfills God’s revelation by proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, God, and Savior.
Holy Scripture is the foremost product of Holy Tradition
That which is passed on or given over within the Church, from the time of Christ and the apostles to the present, is known as Holy Tradition, which
- is the ongoing life of God’s People;
- embraces that which is essential to God’s revelation and necessary for our salvation; and
- is the living link by which Orthodox Christians of all ages are united together in a common faith, life, and experience.
Other elements of Holy Tradition include prayer and liturgical worship, the accepted creeds and acts of the early Church councils, the writings of the Holy Fathers, the lives of the saints, and the Church’s artistic and musical expressions.
In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, Orthodox Christians also profess their understanding of the Church as
- One – because it is one body with one head, Jesus Christ. The Church cannot be divided or separated because Christ cannot be divided or separated. Holy – because the Holy Spirit dwells in God’s People inasmuch as they respond to His call to salvation and eternal life.
- Catholic – because it is whole, complete, lacking in nothing, and universal.
- Apostolic – because it continues in the apostles’ teaching, mission, ministry, and experience.
Salvation is the process by which we enter into eternal life with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Orthodox Christians, salvation
- ends our separation from God, enabling us to begin a new life lived in accordance with His will;
- is ultimately attained through faith – and by putting our faith into action by recognizing God’s presence in others, even “the least of the brothers”;
- is to be proclaimed to all by God’s People through evangelization, mission, and witness.
The Orthodox Church is people – God’s People – who
- gather together in His Name;
- share a common faith and hope rooted in the love of God;
- affirm the truth and fullness – the orthodoxy – of their faith, belief and experience; and
- proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all.
Private prayer is essential for spiritual growth. It is inseparably linked to the Church’s Liturgical worship, which is the public proclamation of God as Lord and the common action, or liturgy, of God’s People.
The Divine Liturgy is the central worship experience for Orthodox Christians, during which we proclaim God’s word as revealed in Scripture and respond in thanksgiving through the reception of Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ.
The liturgical actions which bring God’s presence into our lives as we
- become members of His Church through Baptism and Chrismation.
- proclaim, through Communion (the Eucharist), Christ’s death, resurrection, and Second Coming.
- are forgiven by and reconciled with God and those around us through Penance (Confession).
- share His love through Marriage & Monasticism.
- dedicate our lives and our work to Him through Ordination.
- receive His healing grace through Holy Unction.
Within the Orthodox Church, there are many other items which are referred to as being sacramental including prayer, icons, architecture, liturgical music, and other things which brings God’s presence into our lives.
The Liturgical Year
The Liturgical Year of the church begins on September 1, and includes the annual cycle of feasts and fasts, as well as other rites and services for specific occasions and needs. During the year, there are 12 major feast days, and minor feast days. Pascha is the feast of all feasts, and is therefore not counted along with the other major feast days of the church year. Each day, individual saints are commemorated as well, those who lived holy lives in all godliness and sanctity.