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Questions and Answers

Question: What is the Christian Faith?
Answer: The Christian Faith is Christ’s knowledge of most important mysteries of being and life, which knowledge men can accept only by believing Him and never be able to get by their own efforts.

Question: What is the origin of our Orthodox Faith?
Answer: God’s revelation.

Question: From what sources can we get the knowledge of Faith or God’s revelation?
Answer: From two sources: Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.

Question: What is the Holy Scripture ?
Answer: A collection of sacred books of the Old Testament and the New Testament is called the Holy Scripture or the Bible.

Question: Why do we call it the Holy Scripture ?
Answer: Because our holy God inspired and guided holy men in writing those holy books in order to teach us a holy life.

Question: What is the meaning of the word Bible ?
Answer: It is a Greek word and means;  Books. But this word is not used in a collective but in a qualitative sense, meaning not many books but the books of books, the very top of the pyramid of all books in the world.

Question: What is the Holy Tradition ?
Answer: All those spiritual treasures, which we inherited from our holy ancestors, which are in absolute accord with the Holy Scriptures, and which help us to understand rightly the Holy Scripture.

Question: Which is older: The Holy Scripture or the Holy Tradition?
Answer: The Holy Tradition.

Question: What is the Church ?
Answer: An exceptional community in human history. For it is God’s family created by the word and blood of Jesus Christ and guided and vivified by God the Holy Spirit.

Question: What did Christ say of the Church ?
Answer: He said: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. (Matt. 16:18)

Question: Who is the head of the Church ?
Answer: The ever-living Christ, who said: “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Amen”! (Matt. 28:20) And the apostle said how the heavenly Father glorified His Son Jesus Christ “and gave Him to be the head, over all, to the church, which is His body”. (Eph.I, 22:23)

Question: What are the relations between Christ and the members of His Church ?
Answer: That is clearly stated by St. Paul in these words: “Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular” (I Cor., 12, 27). The pains and joy of one member of that body are felt by other members.

Question: Who are the members of the Church ?
Answer: All of those, both male and female, who are united by the same Faith and Hope, bound by the same God’s law of Love, sanctified by the same Mysteries, and directed by the lawful bishops and priests.

Question: Who are the members of the visible Church ?
Answer: All of those christians who are living in visible bodies and combating for Christian perfection.

Question: Who are the members of the invisible Church ?
Answer: All of those Christians who have died with Faith in Christ during the last 20 centuries, including also the righteous ones of old whom the Lord saved by descending into hell.

Question: Do our departed parents, brothers, sisters, children, relatives and friends belong to that invisible Church ?
Answer: Positively, under the condition that they lived and died as Christians.

Question: What are the characteristics of Christ’s  Church ?
Answer: Christ’s Church is one, holy, universal and apostolic.

Question: Why is the Church called one ?
Answer: Because she is one spiritual body with one head, who is Jesus Christ, and with one Holy Spirit who is dwelling in it. The apostle speaks of the sevenfold unity of the Church by saying: “There is one body, and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all”. (Eph. 4, 4-6)

Question: What about the many independent churches within the Eastern Orthodox Church ?
Answer: They are independent as to the use of their own national (people’s) language and, in certain measure, as to the external structure, subject to the Canon Law. Otherwise, they are independent among themselves as members of the same body of Christ, as branches of the same tree, which are taking food from the same root through the same veins.

Question: Which churches of the Eastern Orthodox Church are independent at present ?
Answer: The church of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Sinai, Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia, Rumania, Georgia and Albania.
(Other independent churches in the East, akin to the Orthodox Church are: Coptic, Abysinian, Armenian, Jacobite in India and Assyrian).

Question: Are they all equal ?
Answer: They are all equal among themselves, therefore they are called sister churches. Yet the Balkan nations and the Russians call the church of Constantinople the Mother Church, because they received Christianity from Consantinople.

Question: What is the highest authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church?
Answer: The Ecumenical (or Universal) Councils consisting of the representatives of all of the independent sister churches.

Question: What is the highest authority in the provincial Churches?
Answer: The Patriarch or the Archbishop, with a Synod of Bishops.

Question: Can a man be saved outside the Church ?
Answer: No. For the Church is the depository of God’s grace, without which, no man can be saved. As an arm cut off the body.

Question: Why is the Church called holy ?
Answer: Because she was made holy by the holiness of her founder, Jesus Christ, by His holy words, deeds, and sacrifice, and because the Holy Spirit is abiding within her through the Holy Sacraments; also because her aim is to make men holy, and finally because she has produced and is still producing a great number of saints and a host of martyrs.

Question: What is Baptism ?
Answer: It is the initial Holy Mystery, or Sacrament, by which we become lawful members of the Church.

Question: How many Mysteries are there in the Orthodox Church ?
Answer: There are seven Holy Mysteries:

  1. Holy  Baptism
  2. Holy  Chrismation
  3. Holy  Communion
  4. Holy  Penitence
  5. Holy  Priesthood
  6. Holy  Matrimony
  7. Holy  Unction

Question: Why do we say “one”  Baptism ?
Answer: Because Baptism is performed only once and cannot be repeated on the same person. As we are only once physically born, even so we are spiritually born only once. And Baptism is our spiritual birth !