THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IS THE ARK OF SALVATION

My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,

CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!

THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IS THE ARK OF SALVATION

"Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth,
is filled with unrighteousness through them, and behold, I will destroy them with
the earth. Make yourself AN ARK …and behold I am bringing A FLOOD OF WATER
ON THE EARTH, TO DESTROY FROM UNDER HEAVEN ALL FLESH IN WHICH IS the
THE BREATH OF LIFE… Now the FLOOD WAS ON THE EARTH FORTY DAYS AND
FORTY NIGHTS. The waters increased and LIFTED UP THE ARK AND IT ROSE HIGH
ABOVE THE EARTH… So it came to pass, at the end of the forty days, Noah OPENED
THE WINDOW OF THE ARK HE HAD MADE. Then he sent OUT A RAVEN, which kept
going to and fro until the waters dried up from earth… he waited another seven days,
and again he sent the DOVE from the Ark. The dove returned to him in the evening,
and behold, a freshly plucked OLIVE LEAF was in her mouth; and Noah KNEW THE
WATERS HAD RECEDED FROM THE EARTH…" ( Chapters 6, 7, 8).

The story of Noah and the Great Flood is one of the most familiar and well-known stories of the Old Testament. However, I will not concentrate on this story perse but on the Christian symbolism of the Ark. Indeed, according to Orthodox Christianity, the entire Holy Bible is interpreted Christocentrically. Books written by the Venerable Prophets of the Old Testament, and the Holy Apostles were written under the inspiration and action of the Holy Spirit, therefore they are called "Divinely inspired." They are divided into books of the Old Testament and the books of the New Testament.

Holy Tradition is the Tradition which comes form the early Church of the Apostolic times. In the 2nd and 4th centuries they are called "the Apostolic Tradition." "Holy Tradition is necessary for the correct understanding of separate passages of Holy Scripture, and for refuting heretical interpretations of it, and in general, so as to avoid superficial, one-sided, and sometimes even prejudiced and false interpretations of it."

"The Orthodox Church of Christ is the Body of Christ, a spiritual ORGANISM whose Head is Christ. It has A SINGLE SPIRIT, A SINGLE COMMON FAITH, A SINGLE AND COMMON CATHOLIC CONSCIOUSNESS, GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND ITS REASONINGS ARE BASED ON THE CONCRETE, DEFINITE FOUNDATIONS OF Holy Scripture and Holy Apostolic Tradition. This catholic (universal) CONSCIOUSNESS is expressed in the Ecumenical Synods (Councils) of the Church… The Ecumenical Councils formulated precisely and confirmed a number of FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS of the Orthodox Christian Faith, DEFENDING THE ANCIENT TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH AGAINST THE DESTORTIONS OF HERETICS. The Ecumenical Councils likewise formulated numerous laws and rules governing PUBLIC and PRIVATE Christian church life, which are called the Church CANONS, and REQUIRED THE UNIVERSAL AND UNIFORM OBSERVANCE OF THEM. Finally, the Ecumenical Councils confirmed THE DOGMATIC DECREES of a number of LOCAL councils, and aalos the dogmatic statements composed by certain holy Fathers of the Church–for example, the Confessions of Faith of Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea, the Canons of Saint Basil the Great ans so forth."

"The Orthodox Church is the Church NOT of ‘councils" as such, BUT ONLY OF TRUE COUNCILS, inspired by the Holy Spirit. WHICH CONFORM TO THE Church’s catholic (uviversal) CONSCIOUSNESS (ΣΥΝΕΙΔΗΣΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ)."

Having posted all the above information regarding our Orthodox Christian Faith and Church I pray that it will strengthen your knowledge of the Authentic Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Founder and Head of the Church.

In the ancient Christian iconography, the image of Noah rising from the Ark is simultaneously a type of Christ riding from the tomb. The dove signifies the Second Coming of Christ, the True Olive (also remember that the dove returned twice to the Ark). The Ark itseldf is seen by the holy Fathers and hagiographers of a type of the Church of Christ, the ARK OF SALVATION. Furthermore, the main church (Gr. κυρίως ναός – ναύ = ship) symbolizes the Ark. Many of the holy Fathers of the Church give allegorical interpretations of practically every detail of the construction of the Ark and of the Great Flood story.

"So, irrespective of its authenticity as literal historical account, Christocentrically interpreted the Great Flood narrative becomes a story of God’s love. It teaches us that we can sacramentally die with Christ, be buried with Him, and be raised up with Him. We can be redeemed, cleansed, and re-created through water and the Spirit and find salvation in the ARK OF THE CHURCH. And we can await in hope the Second Coming of our Lord."

It is clear that in order to be saved or rescued from the storms and challenges of our life on earth, we ought to place ourselves on the SHIP with Christ, the Pilate of the Ship or Ark. This Ship is the Holy Orthodox Church. For all of our faithful the Church is the Life-saving Ship, the Ark of Salvation. Since the name Noah means ‘REST’, his entering the Ark signifies the ‘rest’ which the people of God obtain from this world by enterining into the Church. According to the Holy Apostle Peter, it also signfies BAPTISM. In 1 Peter 3:20-21, he writes, "… While the Ark was being prepeared, in which A FEW, THAT IS, EIGHT SOULS, WERE SAVED THROUGH WATER. There is also an antitype which now SAVES US–BAPTISM (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of good conscience toward God), throug the resurrection of Jesus Christ." For the baptismal water is symbolized by the waters of the Flood, and the grace of the Holy Spirit by the dove bringing the OLIVE BRANCH to Noah after the waters had subsided.

The Holy Church has always been viewed throughout the centuries as the faithful believers struggling through the storms of life with all the tempations, persecutions, assaults, be they physicall, spiritual or moral in nature, or the various and many heresies that undermine the Teachings of the Church from the Apostolic times till today. Saint Nikolai Velimirovich writes: "The flood of madness and sin continues incessantly. Therefore, the Lover of Mankind constructed the Ark of Salvation. Ask for this Ark, and you will soon be entering it. Do NOT let yourselves be led astray by the multitude of variegated vessels, decorate and adorned on the outside. Ask about the power of the engine and about the skill of the captain. The most powerful engine and the most skilled Helmsman are to be found in the Ark of Christ. This is the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Holy Spirit Himself." (The Faiht of the Chosen People),

As the waters of passions, temptations and persecutions confront us and threaten to throw us against the rocks, it is good to remember that as long as we remain on board the Ship of the Church WE ARE SAFE! We sail aboard a Ship that is piloted by our Savior Jesus Christ Himself and we are comforted with the knowledge that this Ship is headed for the safe habour which is the Eternal Kingdom of God.

Remember too, there is only ONE SHIP, just as there is ONE CHURCH, that is safe and only ONE Ship sea-worthy to safely take us to our heavenly destination. Noah had only eight passengers but now hopefully will be millions. However, without the grace of the Holy Spirit, man is easily overcomed by the devil, for his will power alone is incapable of resisting the devil’s temptations. It is only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that we can hopefully be one of the chosen passengers on the Ship of Salvation.

THANKS BE TO GOD!

______________________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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