A few of the fundamental tenets upon which our Holy Orthodox Church functions are as follows:
The Orthodox Church has two great sources of authority:
1. HOLY SCRIPTURE AND HOLY TRADITION
Holy Scripture comprises the writings of both the New and the Old Testaments. The New Testament reveals the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ, and His sacred teachings that we are charged to follow. The Old Testament is a history of the Hebrew people. It contains, among other sacred writings, the prophecies and the writings of the Prophets that foretold the coming of the Messiah. It therefore serves as an introduction to the revelation and the saving message of the New Testament.
Holy Tradition, of which Holy Scripture is a part, includes the writings, teachings, and acts of the apostles, saints, martyrs, and fathers of the Church, and her liturgical and sacramental traditions throughout the ages, the oral tradition of the early Church, and the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils. All of this collective wisdom and experience through the centuries are combined to form this second great source of sacred authority.
2. THE CREED
The Creed contains the Church's basic summary of doctrinal truths to which we adhere as Orthodox Christians. It consists of the twelve articles of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, or the "Pistevo," which is recited at each Divine Liturgy.
3. THE SACRAMENTS
The Sacraments are seven in number. They are the visible means by which the invisible Grace of the Holy Spirit is imparted to us. Four Sacraments are obligatory:
2. Chrismation (anointment with holy oil),
3. Confession, and
4. Holy Communion.
Three are optional:
2. Holy Orders (Ordination), and
3. Unction (anointment of the sick).
4. THE CHURCH CALENDAR
The Church Calendar begins on September 1st and ends on August 31st. Each day is sacred for the Orthodox Christian. The Church venerates at least one saint or sacred event in the life of the Church every day of the year. There are, however, several major feast days observed annually, and of these, Easter, or Pascha, is the most important.
5. THE DIVINE LITURGY
The central worship service of the Church is the Divine Liturgy, which is celebrated each Sunday morning and on all holy days. The Liturgy is also the means by which we achieve union with Jesus Christ and unity with each other through the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
While the Orthodox Church considers herself the Mother Church of Christendom, she cooperates with other churches in programs of educational, philanthropic, and social endeavors insofar as this is consistent with her theology. Orthodoxy has become a major force in the universal ecumenical movement of which she was a prime mover through the encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1920.
7. THE MAJOR FEAST DAYS
Nativity of the Theotokos
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple
Christmas (Nativity of Jesus Christ)
Epiphany (Baptism of Christ)
Presentation of Christ in the Temple
(Varies from year to year)
(40 Days after Easter)
(50 Days after Easter)
Transfiguration of Christ
Dormition of the Theotokos (Kimissis)
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald