FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the Orthodox Church?
The Orthodox Church is the same church which was started by our Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Apostles. It is the same church described in the book of Acts. It is the church that gave us the Holy Scriptures, that gave us the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and that gives us the Holy Spirit, so that we can live out our lives in faith and in love.
2. Isn’t the Church an invisible organization consisting of all who believe in Jesus Christ?
No. Just as our Lord took on a visible body and became fully man, so the Church is a visible reality, rooted in history. The churches that the Apostles started were visible realities united as one, in a common faith and worship. The Orthodox Church today is one with that same visible reality.
3. How are we saved?
We are saved by the grace and love of God. We are saved by living our lives in our Lord Jesus and to have Him living in us. To live in Him means that we are to live a life of love, because Love Himself (Jesus) lives in us. He has given us the opportunity to love and we are saved by feely accepting this great gift.
4. INQUIRER: "One of the biggest hurdles I have had to over come (so far. Lol) is the use of the word "save" in the orthodox prayer book For example in the Jordanville prayer book it refers to the Theotokos as the salvation of the christian race and of course you know that we are taught that salvation comes only through Christ. After a long discussion with my friend (who is Orthodox) he explained that use of the word save (in orthodox tradition) also can be used as healing. Is this explanation correct? "
FR. GEORGE: This is an important question. Yes, your friend is right. Salvation, for us as Orthodox is first and foremost a healing. It is a life lived in, with, and for Jesus Christ. It is Christ who saves us from sin and death. His life is given to us as a free gift and is lived out as a corporate reality- the body of Christ or the Church. It is given to us through her sacraments, through preaching and teaching of the Holy Scripture, through praying for each other, guiding and admonishing each other, and more than anything by loving each other. This is the healing that is true salvation- it is a renewal of our hearts and our minds and our souls. In this way we can 'save' each other by living the life of Christ and sharing it with others. Our Saints and especially the Theotokos share in this same life in a much fuller way. They can indeed guide and give us through their presence and their prayers this same life. In this way we ask the Theotokos to "save us" , to protect us, to impart to us the grace and life that she has received from her Son through her prayers and her presence. All of this is of course deeply rooted in the Scripture and in the Holy Tradition of the Church.
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5. Inquirer: I have been taught that we should never have a cross with Jesus on it (like Roman Catholic crucifixes) because He is no longer on the cross. Why do you have crosses with icons of Jesus shown on them in the Orthodox Church?
We do have crosses in the Orthodox Church that are plain without Christ's icon on it, but usually we either have IC XC (letters for Jesus Christ in Greek) or an icon of Jesus on the cross. Please know that we never have a 3 dimensional crucifix in our Church. I am a bit puzzled by a doctrine which forbids showing Jesus on the cross. We must be certain that it is not any cross that saves us-but rather the cross that Jesus was crucified on that saves us. My first thought is why do they have nativity sets with Jesus in the cradle- he is no longer there as a baby. The cross with Jesus on it is a central event in the life of our Savior historically and also in our lives as Christians as an eternal reality.