My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
"JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME YESTERDAY,
TODAY, AND FOREVER" (Hebrews 13:8)
If I were to define the Holy Orthodox Christian Faith and Church this is what I would confess as, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Since, as Orthodox Christians, we believe Christ is God and DOES NOT CHANGE, His Divine Gospel DOES NOT CHANGE and therefore His Holy Church DOES NOT CHANGE. We believe that Christians throughout the centuries attained the Eternal Kingdom of God, by living the faith, so are Christians today and will continue to do so in the future. The Holy Orthodox Church maintains her divine Doctrines, Canons, and Holy Tradition pure, undefiled, and WITHOUT CHANGE.
Conditions and priorities in the world constantly change. Humanity faces constantly new challenges, demands, reforms, priorities, new technologies, scientific advances, and new forms of living. All of these experiences have an incredible impact on the direction that society follows. Millions of people have been killed in various world wars over the centuries and millions of others were displaced by them and their lives were changed forever. Mankind also suffered from destructive pandemics and epidemics devasting countless people who lost loved ones. Furthermore, we know also historically of the conflict that the Church confronted not only through persecution from outside enemies but also, from within, the real threats such as the various heresies that challenged her unity, survival, and defending the Truth and purity.
No matter, however, what the existing conditions in the world are, the Christian believer’s faith remains steadfast and unaffected. The Orthodox Christian always feels secure and confident within her bosom. Our Lord Jesus Christ, her Founder, and Protector is the ONLY Head. The Orthodox Church does NOT recognize or acknowledge any other head. In other words that is no such thing as a vicar who replaces Christ as Head. Jesus Christ is NEVER ABSENT FROM HIS CHURCH AND WILL NEVER RELINQUISH HIS PLACE TO A MAN. Faith in Jesus Christ–that He is the Son of God and the Head of the Church–is the firm foundation or ROCK of the Church,
The faithful are called out of the world to be the Church: the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the New Israel, the Ark of Salvation, the assembly of the faithful. Through the Church, Christians are UNITED to Christ and to each other. In this communion, the believer receives the Grace of God through the Mysteries (Sacraments) and hears the Truth of the Gospel. This MYSTICAL TRANSFORMATION OF PEOPLE INTO ONE BODY IN CHRIST TAKES PLACE IN THE Divine Eucharist. Because Christ is the Head of the Church, the Church IS A REFLECTION OF THE INCARNATION, WITH BOTH HUMAN AND DIVINE QUALITIES (1 Corinthians 10:16; Galatians 6:16; Ephesians 4:12; 5:22-32). "He who has the bride IS THE BRIDEGROOM" (John 3:29). Christ is the BRIDEGROOM. OF THE CHURCH. The Head of the Church is Christ, "from Whom the whole body [is] joined and knit together" (Ephesians 4:16).
Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians: "For the husband is head of the wife, AS ALSO CHRIST IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH, and He is the Savior of the body…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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" (Eph. 5:23-27).
Although it is very clear that "Christ ALONE is the "Head of the Church" (v.23), the heterodox and even some of our own people tend to forget that very fact. The Church has always strictly guarded the CORRECT TEACHINGS OF OUR LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. As the GUARDIAN OF THE TRUTH FAITH, the Holy Church must remain faithful to her Head. Christ does NOT evolve and neither is His Church. The Orthodox Christian believer should continue growing in Christ and by the grace of God strive for theosis (deification) for we can never be satisfied with our current status.
The Orthodox Creed reveals the essence of True Christianity. We must never deviate from it and we must always retain her integrity and purity. The heterodox have separated themselves from the Truth by introducing to their traditions heretical practices and beliefs. They, tragically, allowed the influence of a secular and corrupt world to enter them. By doing so what they confess has been corrupted and water down to the point that Christ’s Divine Gospel has been distorted and the message lost. We pray for them to "come to the knowledge of Truth" and to repent sincerely for their abdication from Christ.
The evil one uses seduction to lure those who are blind and weak in faith. Some desire to join the heterodox and emulate them because they, according to today’s language, are "progressive," "modern," and "all-inclusive." Not only that, but they feel passionate to abandon the Orthodox Faith and replacing it with contemporary ideology and philosophy. So as to avoid any negative reaction from the Orthodox Christians they do it secretly, deviously, and diplomatically. We believe, of course, that they will never succeed because they are up against our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Many others have attempted to corrupt and adulterate the Church throughout history but failed miserably. The result of their sinister efforts and actions brought them only EXCOMMUNICATION (to cut off officially from the Church). No one is above the Church and all are held responsible for their actions.
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Fr. George