I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. When I am asked about my religious belief and I say this I am, usually, asked several questions: 1) What do I believe? Since I live in the Bible belt, the second question is generally along the lines of 2) Do I attend a “Bible believing” Church? The third question goes something along the lines of 3) “So your church is like the Greek Orthodox church?”
Let me answer the second question first: Yes, the Orthodox Church is very much a Bible believing church, and it isn’t “like” the Greek church – Greek Orthodox, Russian, Coptic, Ethiopian, etc. is all one church. The reason there are designations is because of where the patriarchate lies.
A patriarchate is, according to Dictionary.com, “the office, dignity, jurisdiction, province, or residence of an ecclesiastical patriarch.” A patriarch is someone who “in the early Christian church) any of the bishops of any of the ancient sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, or Rome having authority over other bishops.” The Orthodox Church doesn’t have a single “Pope” over all the church, but several high bishops over each different “see”, or seat, of an area. This way, if something is to be changed as far as ritual and belief is concerned, it takes a meeting of all the lead bishops, or Patriarchs, to make a decision. Change does not happen quickly in the Orthodox church. Many of the same practices we do in worship have been done since the beginning.
So, what do I, as an Orthodox Christian believe? One of the easiest ways for me to tell you is to give you The Creed. It is said during morning and evening prayers and in every service.
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 worlds; Light of Light, very God of very 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 the Heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and made man;
And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried;
And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures;
And ascended into the Heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
And shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end;
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 worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets;
And I believe in one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the age to come. Amen.
This is what I believe, but why do I believe it? Everything in The Creed comes from the Bible, based on what the Bible says about Jesus Christ and what He taught His Apostles and those who followed Him.
Here is a wonderful breakdown of The Creed by Father Ellis Khouri:
The Creed And Its Biblical Sources
By Father Ellis Khouri
Let not your heart he troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me (John 14:1).
IN ONE GOD
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent (John 17:3). See also 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; James 2:19.
. . . I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God (John 20:17). Also John 16:26-28, 17-11; Luke 23:46; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 11:31.
. . .We give Thee thanks. O Lord God, the Almighty . . . (Revelation 11:17). Also 2 Corinthians 6:18.
MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH,
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
AND OF ALL THINGS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.
For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth things visible and things invisible . . .(Colossians 1:16). Also Psalms 148:5.
AND IN ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN, BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER BEFORE ALL AGES,
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent (John 8:11). Also John 1:18, 1:34, 3:16, 6; 69, 20:31.
LIGHT OF LIGHT,
He (John the Baptist) was not the light, but was sent to bear witness of the light (John 1:8). Also Hebrews 1:3; John 1:9.
VERY GOD OF VERY GOD,
Jesus said unto him, I am the way, and (lie truth, and the life (John 14:6). Also 1 John 5:20.
To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world . . . (John 18:37). 1 John, 5:1.
(God) . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, who He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds (Hebrew 1:2).
OF ONE ESSENCE WITH THE FATHER,
I (Jesus) and the Father are one (John 10:30). Also John 10:37-38, 14:9-24; Hebrews 1:2; Philippians 2:5-II.
BY WHOM ALL THINGS WERE MADE:
. . . For in Him (Christ) were all things created . . .(Colossians 1:16). Also Colossians 1:17-18; Hebrews 1:2.
WHO FOR US MEN,
For all things are for your sakes … (2 Corinthians 4:15). Romans 8:31-32.
AND FOR OUR SALVATION
. . .I came not to judge the world, but to save the world (John 12:47). John 4:22; 4:42.
CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN,
For I (Jesus) am come down from heaven (John 6:38). Also Ephesians 4:10.
AND WAS INCARNATE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE VIRGIN MARY,
. . .Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son . . . (Isaiah 7:14). Also Matthew 1:20-21; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:14; Galatians 4:4.
AND WAS MADE MAN;
For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Jesus Christ . . . (1 Timothy 2:5. Also Matthew 25:31; Philippians 2:6-7.
AND WAS CRUCIFIED ALSO FOR US UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, AND SUFFERED, AND WAS BURIED;
. . .Be not amazed: ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who hath been crucified . . . (Mark 16:6). Also 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:13.
AND THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN ACCORDING T0 THE SCRIPTURES;
Now when Jesus was risen early on the first day of the week. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . .(Mark 16:9). Also Luke 24:21-24; John 20:19; Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:4.
AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN. AND SITTETH AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER;
So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). Also Acts 1:9-10.
AND HE SHALL COME AGAIN WITH GLORY T0 JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD,
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26>. Also Matthew 25:31-32; Ads 1:11; 10:42; Daniel 7:9-14.
WHOSE KINGDOM SHALL HAVE NO END.
And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:33). Also Daniel 2:44.
AND I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . (Matthew 28:19). Also John 14:26.
Now the Lord is the Spirit … (2 Corinthians 3:17). Also Acts 5:3-4.
THE GIVER OF LIFE,
It is the spirit that giveth life . . . (John 6:63). Also Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:9-10.
WHO PROCEEDETH FROM THE FAI HER.
. . .The Spirit of Truth, which proceeded from the Father, he shall bear witness of me. . .(John 15:26). Also Mark 1:10; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12.
WHO WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON TOGETHER IS WORSHIPPED AND GLORIFIED.
And one cried unto another, and said. Holy, holy holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory (Isaiah 6:3). Also Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 2:11.
WHO SPAKE BY THE PROPHETS;
. . .And he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets . . .(Luke 1:70). Also Luke 1:55; Acts 4:31; 10:42-43.
AND I BELIEVE IN ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.
See 1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:5; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:13-22; 4:4-6; Colossians 1:18.
I ACKNOWLEDGE ONE BAPTISM FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS.
And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins . . . (Acts 2:38). Also Ephesians 4:5.
I LOOK FOR THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD,
Verily, verily, I say unto you. The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live (John 5:25). Also Acts 23:6, 24:15; Romans 8:19.
AND THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME. AMEN
He that loveth his life loseth it: and he that hateth his life in the world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25). Also Matthew 25:46, 28:20; John 11:25.
THE CREED. The Creed is a concise summary of the Truths of Faith in the Holy Trinity, formulated in the First (325) and Second (381) Ecumenical Synods. It has 12 articles. The first relates to God the Father; the second through the seventh to Jesus Christ; the eighth to the Holy Spirit; the ninth to the Church; the tenth to Baptism; the eleventh to the Resurrection of the dead, and the twelfth to the future life.
The Nicene Creed constitutes the basic dogmas formulated by the Ecumenical Synods from the vast treasures of Divine Revelation. The belief in the Holy Trinity confessed in the first eight articles is the foundation of the Faith of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The remaining articles of the Creed refer to the destiny of man in the realm of God’s desire for man’s salvation. The expression of faith in the Holy Trinity by merely reciting the Nicene Creed does not indicate that the faithful have an immutable conviction in their belief in God. The goal of the Christian is to strengthen his belief in God by applying His Commandments, in His Name, in his everyday life. Thus he feels and cherishes Gods presence and companionship.
Father Son and Holy Spirit are at the very center of everything done within the Orthodox church. Everything done is based upon the Bible. Not only are we taught the Bible in every Sunday service, but we are also called upon to live it every day because this is what Jesus asked His followers to do.What DO I Believe About