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What we believe in...

AND THOSE WHOM WE ARE IN COMMUNION AND/OR UNION WITH... also believe....
 

What we believe: Our Faith and Praxis are more fully developed in the
articles linked below this STATEMENT OF FAITH.
 

Dogmatic Articles

1. The Way of Salvation. --

    Eternal Salvation is promised to mankind only through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ, and upon condition of obedience to the teaching of the Gospel, which requires Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the due observance of the ordinances of the Orthodox and Catholic Christian Religion.

{Note: "Religion" comes from the Latin word "Religare" which literally means to Unite With God.  This means to accept what has been handed down to us through time and history by God through the prophets, His Son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Apostles and the Seven Ecumenical Councils without adulteration, and the Patristic Fathers of the Church.  The ultimate test of Faith lies in this belief on a day-to-day basis in one's thoughts, in one's word, and in one's deed or action; according to one's own nature and degree of ability to do so.}

2. Faith, Hope and Charity -
    Faith is a virtue infused in us by God whereby man accepts and believes without doubting, whatever God has revealed in the Church concerning true Religion.

    Hope is a virtue infused by God, and following upon Faith; by it man puts his entire trust and confidence in the goodness and mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, and looks for the fulfillment of(the Divine promises made to those who obey the Gospel.

    Charity is a virtue infused by God, and likewise is    consequent upon Faith, whereby man, loving God above all things for His own sake and his neighbor as himself for God's sake, yields up his will to a joyful obedience to the revealed will of God in the Church.

3. The Church --

    God has established the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church upon earth to be the pillar and the ground of the revealed Truth and has committed to her the guardianship of the Holy Tradition, and the power of binding and loosing.  {This is the roots of that which is called the Christian Church}

4. The Creed --

    The Church Catholic has set forth the principal Doctrines of the Christian Faith in twelve articles as follows:

I. I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

II. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all Ages, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father, by Whom all things were made,

III. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was Incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made Man,

IV. And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, He suffered, died and was buried; {He descended into Hell is of another creed of faith of the Orthodox Church Catholic which Jesus Christ literally did accomplish for us as a part of the Salvific plan.}

V. On the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures,

VI. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;

VII. And He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end;

VIII. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke to the prophets

IX. And in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church;

X. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins;

XI. And I look for the Resurrection of the dead;

XII. And the Life in the world to come. Amen.


5. The Sacraments --

    The fundamental ordinances of the Gospel instituted by Jesus Christ as a special means of conveying Divine grace and influence to the souls of men, which are commonly called Sacraments, and are Seven in number, namely Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Orders, Matrimony, Penance, and Unction.  {Although the Church has determined primarily SEVEN SACRAMENTS, the Orthodox Church does not limit the fullness of the HOLY MYSTERIES to seven}

Thus: Baptism -- is the first Sacrament of the Gospel, administered by immerson or pouring of water with the words, 'I Baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit' It admits the recipient into the Church, bestows upon him the forgiveness of sins, and the consequences of original sin through the Blood of Christ, and causes in him spiritual change called Regeneration. Without valid Baptism no other Sacrament can be validly received."

"Confirmation-- is a Sacrament in which the Baptized person, on being anointed with Chrism consecrated by the Bishops of the Church, with the imposition of hands, receives the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit to strengthen him in the grace which he received at Baptism, making him a strong and perfect Christian and a good soldier of Christ." (A Priest may, with the permission of the Bishop, confer Confirmation.)

"The Holy Eucharist -- is a Sacrament by which, consubstantial with the natural physical elements of bread and wine, the bread and wine becomes the REAL and ACTUAL BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST and is given and received for the remission of sins, the increase of Divine grace, and the reward of everlasting Life. After the words of Institution ("This is my Body" and "This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the New and ever lasting Covenant which will be given up for you and for many that sins may be forgiven.....") the bread and wine are entirely converted into the living Body and Blood of Christ while retaining the physical elemental substance, to which change the philosophical terms of Consubstantiation and Transmutation are rightly applied."

The celebration of this Mystery, commonly called the Mass, constitutes the chief act of Christian worship, being a sacrificial Memorial or re-presentation of our Lord's death. It is not a repetition of the Sacrifice offered once for all upon Calvary, but is a perpetuation of that Sacrifice by the Church on earth, as our Lord also perpetually offers it in heaven. It is a true and propitiatory Sacrifice, which is offered alike for the living and for the departed.

Holy Orders -- is a Sacrament instituted by Christ and passed on to His Apostles, in which the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of hands of the Bishops, consecrates and ordains the Bishops, Priests and Ministers chosen to serve in the Church, and imparts to them special grace to administer the Sacraments, to forgive sins, and feed the flock of Christ. An indelible mark is placed on the soul in Holy Orders which identifies the man as a Deacon, Priest or Bishop in time and in eternity.

Bishopsmust have valid Apostolic Succession and valid succession of Apostolic truth to Ordain or Consecrate in a valid fashion. Only a Baptized male may be ordained.
 

Matrimony-- is a Sacrament in which the voluntary union of two Persons (one male and one female) are sanctified to become an image of the union between Christ and His Church; and grace is imparted to them to fulfill the duties of their estate and its great responsibilities both to each other and to their children. The couple are the actual minister of the Sacrament. The Priest is the official witness for the Church and the entire faith community.

Penance-- is a Sacrament in which the Holy Spirit bestows forgiveness of sins, by ministry of the Priest, upon those who, having sinned after Baptism, confess their sins with true repentance and penance by word and action to forgive others and obtain forgiveness on earth from those whom they have offended and grace given is to amend their lives thereafter.

Unctionis a Sacrament in which the Priest of the Church anoints the sick with oil, for the healing of the infirmities of their souls, and if it should please God, those of their bodies also.

The efficacy of the Sacraments depends upon the promise and appointment of God. The Sacraments actually confer that grace which they represent.

6. Holy Scripture --     The Scriptures are writings inspired by God and given to the Church for her instruction and edification. The Church is therefore the custodian and the only Divinely appointed interpreter of holy Scripture.

7. Tradition --    The Apostolic and Ecclesiastical Traditions received from the seven General Councils and the early Fathers of the Church may not be rejected; but are to be received and obeyed as being both agreeable to Holy Scripture and to that Authority with which Christ endowed His Church. Matters of discipline and ceremony do not rank on the same level with matters of Faith and Morals, but may be altered from time to time and from place to place by the Authority of the Church, according as the welfare and greater devotions of the faithful may be furthered thereby.

8. The Communion of Saints --    There is a Communion of Saints in the Providence of God, wherein the souls of righteous men of all ages are united with Christ. In the bond of faith and love. Wherefore it is pleasing to God, and profitable to men, to honor the Saints and to invoke them in prayer; and also to pray for the faithful departed.

9. Religious Symbols --     The relics and representations of Saints are worthy of honor, as are also all other religious emblems; that our minds may be encouraged to devotion and to imitation of the deed of the just. Honor shown to such objects is purely relative, and in no way implies a confusion of the symbol with the thing signified.

10. Rites and Ceremonies --     It is the duty of all Christians to join in the worship of the Church, especially in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in accordance with our Lord's express command; and to conform to the ceremonies prescribed by holy Tradition for the greater dignity of that Sacrifice and for the edification of the faithful.

11. The Moral Law --     All Christians are bound to observe the Moral Law contained in the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament, developed with greater strictness in the New, founded upon the law of nature and charity, and defining our duty to God and to man.

    The laws of the Church are also to be obeyed, as proceeding from that Authority which Christ has committed to her for the instruction and salvation of His people.

12. The Monastic Estate --    The monastic life duly regulated according to the laws of the Church, is a salutary institution in strict accord with the holy Scriptures and is full of profit to them who after being carefully tried and examined, make full proof of their calling thereto.

The Organic Articles:

1. Head of the Church --

The Foundation Head and Supreme Pastor and Bishop of the Church is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, from Whom all Bishops and Pastors derive their spiritual powers and jurisdiction.

2. Obedience --

    By the law and institution of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel, all Christians owe obedience and submission in spiritual things to them who have rule and authority within the Church.

3. Ministerial Authority --

    Our Lord Jesus Christ did not commit rule and authority within the Church to all the faithful indiscriminately, but only to the Apostles and to their lawful successors in due order.

4. Apostolic Succession --

    The only lawful successors of the Apostles are the Orthodox and Catholic Bishops, united by profession of the selfsame Belief, participation in the same Sacraments, and mutual recognition and Intercommunion. The Bishops of the Church, being true successors of the Apostles are by Divine right and appointment the rulers and teachers of the Church. It is a Bishops duty to pass judgment, to interpret, to Consecrate, to Ordain, to Offer Sacrifice, to Baptize, and to Confirm.

"In virtue of this appointment each individual Bishop is supreme and independent in that part of the Church which has been committed to his care, so long as he remains in Faith and Communion with his brother Catholic Bishops, who cannot exclude any from the Church save only them who stray from the path of virtue or err in Faith."

It is unlawful within Orthodox Jurisdictions for any single Bishop, or any smaller group of Bishops, or for any secular power or state to usurp absolute authority.

5. Church Authority --

    The collective body of the Orthodox Catholic Episcopate, united by profession of the Faith, by the Sacraments, and by the mutual recognition and actual Intercommunion, is the source and depository of all order, authority and jurisdiction in the Church, and is the center of visible Catholic Unity; so that no Pope, Patriarch or Bishop, or any number of Bishops separated from this united body can possess any authority or jurisdiction whatsoever.

"It is an act of schism to appeal from the known judgment of the complete Orthodox and Catholic Episcopate, unless when such declares anything in contradiction to the Scriptures or introduces any innovation in teaching which teaching contradicts the teaching of the Apostolic Church. The Episcopate is a continuation of the Apostolic Office and is clearly a Divine institution and its authority if founded in Divine right.

General Councils are not of themselves of direct Divine appointment and so the Episcopate having clearly the Scriptural promise of Divine guidance into all Truth, cannot be hampered in the exercise of its authority by the necessity of assembling a General Council.

"There have been seven General Councils only, which are recognized by the whole of Orthodox Catholic Christendom, held respectively in Nicaea (AD 325), Constantinople (AD 381), Ephesus (AD 431), Chalcedon (AD 451), Constantinople (AD 553), Constantinople (AD 680), and Nicaea (AD 787). At no other Councils was the entire body of the Orthodox and Catholic Episcopate representatively assembled and the decrees and pronouncements of no others must of themselves be accepted as binding upon the conscience of the faithful."

6. Hierarchy --

    "Be it known that within all Orthodox Jurisdictions all Primates, Archbishops, and Metropolitans, (that is to say, all Bishops who exercise their administrative authority over other Bishops) are equal in Sacramental Authority. All Bishops receive their authority from God and are representatives of God and not only representatives of a Metropolitan, Primate or jurisdiction. Those Bishops under the authority of a Metropolitan or Primate etc are equal in Sacramental authority to the Primates, Metropolitans etc. The fullness of the Church Universal resides within each Bishop individually and collectively.

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