The Lord Jesus Christ
Saviour of mankind
O faithful, let us honour the martyr of Christ,
The priest of the Church of Antioch,
Who baptized the land, the churches,
and the people of Syria,
In the word of the Lord,
In his blood and in
the blood of his companions.
Being baptized, since his youth,
by the light of the Gospel,
He laboured, taught
And kept the Church of Christ with her sheep.
Therefore, O Joseph the Damascene,
Be our example and our protector
And our fervent intercessor with the Saviour
The Holy Trinity
We believe that God is One in substance and Triune in persons. We worship One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.
Creation is the work in time of the Blessed Trinity. The world is not self-created, neither has it existed from eternity, but it is the product of the wisdom, the power, and the will of the One God in Trinity. God the Father is the prime cause of creation and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit took part in creation, God the Son perfecting creation and God the Holy Spirit vivifying creation.
We believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly God. He is Jesus, that is, the Savior and Christ, the Lord's Anointed, a Son not created of another substance, as is the case with us, but a Son begotten of the very substance of the Father before all time, and thus consubstantial with the Father.
He is also truly man, like us in every respect, except sin. The denial either of His divinity or of His humanity constitutes a denial of His incarnation and of our salvation.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The faith of the Church about the procession of the Holy Spirit was confirmed by the Second Ecumenical Council, which added to the Creed the following clause: "And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father."
The Church is the holy institution founded by our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of men, bearing his holy sanction and authority, and composed of men having one and the same faith, and partaking of the same sacraments.
It is divided into the clergy and laity. The clergy trace their descent by uninterrupted succession from the Apostles and through them from our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church is ONE because our Lord Jesus Christ founded not many, but only one Church; HOLY because her aim, the sanctification and salvation of her members through the sacraments, is holy; CATHOLIC because she is above local limitations; and APOSTOLIC because she was "built upon the foundation of the Apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone" (Eph. 2:20). The Head of the Church is our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Orthodox Church throughout the ages has maintained a continuity of faith and love with the apostolic community which was founded by Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Orthodoxy believes that she has preserved and taught the historic Christian Faith free from error and distortion, from the time of the Apostles. She also believes that there is nothing in the body of her teachings which is contrary to truth or which inhibits real union with God. The air of antiquity and timelessness which often characterizes Eastern Christianity is an expression of her desire to remain loyal to the authentic Christian Faith.
Orthodoxy believes that the Christian Faith and the Church are inseparable. It is impossible to know Christ, to share in the life of the Holy Trinity, or to be considered a Christian apart from the Church. It is in the Church that the Christian Faith is proclaimed and maintained. It is through the Church that an individual is nurtured in the Faith.
We recognize seven sacraments: Baptism, Chrism or Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Confession, Ordination, Marriage and Holy Unction.
Baptism is the door through which one enters into the Church. Confirmation is the completion of Baptism. In the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, with the bread and wine, we partake of the very Body and the very Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for remission of sins and eternal life. Both the New Testament and Sacred Tradition bear witness to the real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. In the sacrament of Confession Jesus Christ, the founder of the sacrament, through the confessor, forgives the sins committed after Baptism by the person who confesses his sins and sincerely repents of them. In the sacrament of Ordination through prayer and the laying-on of hands by a bishop, divine grace comes down on the ordained enabling him to be a worthy minister of the Church. Apostolic succession is fundamental to the Church. Without it there can be no continuity of the Church. In the sacrament of Marriage, divine grace sanctifies the union of husband and wife. In the sacrament of Holy Unction the sick person is anointed with sanctified oil and divine grace heals his bodily and spiritual ills.
We believe that God has provided the Church with everything necessary for salvation: the pre-eminent Holy Scriptures, the Word of God; the indispensible Tradition of the Church, Spirit-breathed origin and interpreter of the Scriptures through godly persons and Councils, (7 and Ecumenical); the Mysteries of the Church, (sacraments), foremost being the paschal (Easter) Mysteries of Baptism and the Eucharist; the "culture" of the Church; that is her art, her architecture and her life; the redeemed of the Church, that is her Saints and their Lives.
What is salvation? For the Orthodox Christian, salvation is more than a legal state, more than forgiveness of sins. It is union with God.
The goal of life is not simply to dwell in a place where there is no sin, sickness, or suffering, but to come into a personal communion with the Holy Trinity. In Orthodox theology there is no concept of merit at all, either in terms of our works meriting the salvation of God, or even of salvation being given to us because of the merit of Christ's works. It is rather a question of relationship, of communion with God.
Our communion with the Holy Trinity produces in us a continually growing and developing reflection of the glory of Christ. As St. Paul says, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18). Again, Paul says that we will be taught "until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). St. John comments, "Beloved, now we are children of God. It has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).
So the question isn't really whether it is Christ's work or our work that saves us. It is rather how we enter into and build a relationship with Christ and through Him to the Holy Trinity that enables us to be "partakers of the divine nature" and thus be transformed into His likeness.