My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
ORTHODOXIA AND ORTHOPRAXIA ARE ONE
What do we mean when we say Orthodoxia and Orthopraxia?
Today more than ever before we must be careful, precise, genuine, and authentic in the words we use and what they truly mean. Words have an enormous effect and impact on what we are attempting to convey to others. I don’t believe we want our words not to have any substance or significance when we are conversing with others or to raise doubt or questions of what we are trying to say.
Let us look at the word ORTHODOXIA. The word Orthodoxia (Orthodoxy) comes from the joining of two Greek words: ORTHE, meaning right or correct, and DOXA, meaning opinion or glory. Ancient Greek philosophers like Plato used these two words side by side or employed the verb ORTHODOXEO–to have a correct opinion. Therefore ORTHODOXY means CORRECT OR SOUND DOCTRINE.
In the post-biblical periods, one finds reference to HETERODOX teachers and doctrines as early as Saint Ignatios of Antioch. The word orthodoxy finally was used in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea in 339 A.D. Julias Ist in 359; Athanasios in 373 A.D; and Basil in 379 A.D. and was also used by the Synod of Ephesus 431 A.D. as well as the Synod in Chalcedon in the year 451 A.D. It is extremely important to understand that gradually ORTHODOXY came to mean not simply RIGHT DOCTRINE but the traditional and universal doctrine of the Holy Church of Christ as defined IN OPPOSITION TO HETERODOX OR HERESY. In this context, it was seen AS THE PURE CHRISTIAN TRADITION, handed down through an UNBROKEN LINE from the AUTHENTIC Gospel of Jesus Christ and His holy Disciples. After the defeat of iconoclasm in the ninth century, a liturgical feast day of ORTHODOXY, THE SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY, was introduced in the Eastern Church to be celebrated each year on the First Sunday of Holy and Great Lent. From the fourth to the tenth centuries, Greek authors applied the adjective "ORTHODOX," to interpretations of Scripture, the faith of the Church, the Church’s liturgical worship, various decrees and opinions, writings, Churches, and individuals.
Orthopraxis (ortho: straight, right, correct; praxis: human action, conduct). It was and continues to be an attempt to reintegrate faith and action. To take seriously the New Testament AFFIRMATION THAT "NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, ‘LORD, LORD,’ SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN" (Saint Matthew 7:21). Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis represent distinct and yet complementary concerns, BOTH OF THEM INTEGRAL TO CHRISTIAN LIVING.
We, Orthodox Christians, must take good care that what we profess and what we practice is real and true. Nothing about our faith must become superficial, empty, and reduced to simply KENODOXIA or TYPOLATREIA so as some to question its authenticity or validity. No one should be able to accuse the Church of being ‘dead orthodoxy,’ nor a ‘superstitious religious relic.’ There are those in Greece today that refer to the Faith as a ‘myth.’
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the First Sunday of Holy and Great Lent we, the Orthodox Christians, throughout the world celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxia over heresy. If Orthodoxy triumphed in the era of the vicious and horrific iconoclast controversy, this was because so many of the true Christians were prepared to undergo exile, torture, and even death for the sake of the Truth (Ortho). The holy Feast of Orthodoxy is above all a celebration in honor of the holy Martyrs and Confessors who suffered for the faith.
It seems to me that it is no longer enough to just profess that one is an Orthodox Christian. All Orthodox faithful are to live and confess their faith, not in words alone, but by living the faith, Orthopraxia (correct living). Living the faith rightly according to the Divine Teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a life guided by God the Holy Spirit. We cannot live the True and Authentic Christian life without His inspiration and grace. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Our Lord Jesus Christ promised His disciples to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Who would remain with them FOREVER, the Spirit of Truth Who would instruct them in everything and remind them of the future. After the Resurrection appeared to His disciples and He granted them the Grace-given power of the Holy Spirit with the divine words, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sin ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained" (Saint John 20:22-23). Ten days after His Ascension, the Lord, in accordance with His promise, sent down the Holy Spirit upon His disciples on the day of Pentecost in the form of fiery tongues.
In the Holy Spirit, God’s Divine power, is given us "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" ( 2 Peter 1:3). "These Grace-given gifts are in His Holy Church, which the Lord founded on earth." They comprise THE MEANS OF OUR SANCTIFICATION AND SALVATION. As Orthodox Christians, we confess openly and vigorously that we believe in the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church;" the ONLY Authentic Church of Christ.
Orthodox Christians of this century and era must be willing to die defending Our Holy Orthodox Christian Faith. There can be no compromise nor defection nor betrayal of the Church that God entrusted to us. His divine Bride, whom He loves and sacrificed His life on the Cross, "That He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that SHE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH" (Ephesians 527). We have witnessed over the years, especially the 20th and 21st century, the implosion within the heterodox community and its demise. There is such an unpresedented number of heresies that they cannot be identified any longer as being a Christian body of any kind. They have done more damage to the Christian Gospel than those who openly persecute the Church. What they promote and preach is heresy and distortion.
The Church IS CHRIST! It is not some artificial and symbolic ‘institution.’ An attack on the Church is an attack on our Lord Jesus Christ. A heresy against the Church is a heresy against God the Holy Spirit Who is the Spirit of Truth. To advocate that the heretical groups, the enemies of Christianity, have the truth is loudicrous and wrong. No Orthodox Christian leader should treat them with respect nor as equals. To do so is to betray Christ Himself.
We need to look around us and see the reality of what is taking place both within and without the Orthodox Church. There are definite signs that a silent war has been declared against Christianity. Christian leaders are giving in to the demands of the wicked and dark powers of the world to compromise severely the Faith. One way is to keep quiet on social issues that are condoned and promoted by secular and world governments, i.e. euthanasia, breakdown of the family, divorce, various and new sexual lifestyles, abortion and infantaside, injustices, poverty, loss of morals, indoctrination of the school age children from kindergarden to College age men and women, oposition to religion, especially Christianity, the lack of freedom of thought and speech, the absence of human rights and civil rights, restriction of freedom of religion, the lack of privacy, governmental corruption, the cancel culture, intrusion upon our lives, businesses, and home, identity crises, and the deliberate creation of confusion between the biological sexes, etc. Very few, if any Christian leades, voice any oposition. Because of this, the Christian faithful are lead to their slaughter. Allow me to bring to your attention what a good Shepherd does to protect his sheep. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ explains in John 10:10-15, "The thief does not come except to steal and to kill, and to destroy. I have that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. "I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD. THE GOOD SHEPHERD GIVES HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP. But a hireling, he who IS NOT THE SHEPHERD, one who does not own the sheep, SEES THE WOLF COMING AND LEAVES THE SHEEP AND FLEES, AND THE WOLF CATCHES THE SHEEP AND SCATTERS THEM. The HIRELING flees BECAUSE HE IS A HIRELING AND DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE SHEEP. I am the Good Shepherd and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. AS the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THE SHEEP. " Do I need to say anything more? No one in the Church can hide behind the so-called ‘tolerance." Tolerance is another way of saying "CONDONING." An example of tolerance is the crime of abortion which is not only tolerated, but legal in many places, even in so called ‘Christian’ countries, i.e., Western Europe, Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada, North and South America, etc. because the majority of their citizens at one time were of the Chistian faith. In the Orthodox Church we commemorate the 14,000 infants murdered by Herod. This horrific and barbaric crime of humanity, this mass infanticide, is universally seen as repulsive and inhuman. However, just in the United States of America, with the approval of the Supreme Court, over 65 million children have been murdered thus far and there is hardly any outcry or protest by anyone, including the Christian Community. This is what tolerance does! We must, as all of the disciples of Christ, confront the "wolves" of today’s world together as the Church of Jesus Christ and by the grace of God protect His "sheep" from the butchers block. Otherwise, we believe and know too well, that one day soon we will all give an accounting of our actions or lack of, to the Good Shepherd, to the Supreme Judge in Heaven Who sees all and knows all. Genuine and authentic Christians throughout the centuries have always shown extraordinary courage and loyalty to the Lord Christ and went willingly to the arena to be tortured, eaten alive by wild beasts, sawn in two by the sword, torn asunder, burned alive, dismambered, beheaded, etc. for the glory of God. Our Orthodox Church History, our Synaxaristes, reveal the countless men, women and children who gave their lives for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our God.
"Glory Be To GOD