One of the tasks of the early Church was defining, and defending, orthodox theology against the battering waves of heresies. These heresies often appeared in disputes over the nature of the Trinity, or how Jesus could be both God and Man. Church Councils were called to search the Scriptures and put into words the common faith, forming a bedrock of certainty that could stand for all ages. From this time, the Church has ben called "Orthodox" which means "right belief" or "right praise" The Nicene Creed originated at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, and is the central Orthodox statement of faith, a preeminent example of the work of the Councils. Built on the foundation of Christ and His Apostles, nothing has been added to our faith, and nothing can be added. It is complete.
Our worship is focused on God, not on our own enjoyment, fulfillment or fellowship. We come into the presence of God with awe, aware of our fallenness and His great mercy. We seek forgiveness and rejoice in the great gift of salvation so freely given. Orthodox worship is filled with repentence, gratitude and unending praise.
We try, as best we can, to make our worship beautiful. The example of Scripture shows us that God's design for tabernacle worship (Exodus 25, 26) included gold, silver, precious stones, blue and purple cloth, embroidery, incense, bells and anointing oil. Likewise, in Saint John's vision of heavenly worship (Revelation 4) there were precious stones, gold, thrones, crowns, white robes, crystal, and incense. From the beginning to the end of Scripture, worship is offered with as much beauty as possible. While a new mission's finances may call for simple apointments, our hearts come to worship seeking to pour out at the feet of Christ al the precious ointment we posses.
A common misconception is that awe-filled, beautiful worship must be rigid, formal and cold. Orthodox worship shatters that stereotype. The liturgy is not a performance, but an opportunity to come together as family of faith before our beloved Father. True Orthodox worship is comfortable, warm and joyful. It could be nothing less in His heavenly presence.
Orthodoxy has stood against abortion since the earliest days of the church. The Didache (circa A.D. 110) states, "Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant." in the midst of a culture which freely practiced abortion, infanticide, and the exposure of infants, early Christians were a consistant voice against violence, as the Orthodox Church continues to be today.
Caring for the poor and disadvantaged has always been a concern for the Orthodox. The strong sermons of Saint John Chrysostom, written in the fourth century, bear witness to the importance of this Christian responsibility. The Church continues to see it mission in light of the whole person, body and soul.
Orthodox believers are right, left, and center on many issues. But where Scripture and the witness of the early Church guide us, there is no controversey. We uphold and obey God's will.
THE NICENE CREED:
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,
through whom all things were made;
who for us man and our salvation came down
from heaven, and was incrnate of the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and became man;
and He was crucified 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 in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father;
who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified,
who spoke through the prophets.
And 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 world to come, Amen.
Christian Orthodox Fellowship