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 AND TODAY AND FOR EVER" [Hebrews 13:9]
For Orthodox Christians Jesus Christ is God and does NOT CHANGE, His Divine Revelation, His Gospel DOES NOT CHANGE. Since our fellow Christian brothers and sisters attained the Eternal Kingdom of God by adhering faithfully TO THE FAITH, so can we. Thus our Orthdox Christian Church is committed in keeping THE DOCTRINE PURE AND UNDEFILED.
"DO NOT BE CARRIED ABOUT WITH VARIOUS AND STRANGE DOCTRINES." [Hebrews 13:9]. Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church has remained faithful to the Truth of Christ for over two thousand years unwilling to temper with the Divine Teachings of our Lord. Heretics have attempted throughout Church history to alter it and to corrupted but have failed. All the Orthodox Churche’s Ecumenical Synods have fought vehemently and consistently every heresy introduced to it by heretics whose goal has been to destroy the Church of Christ from within. But the Church of Christ triumphed over them and the heretics were excommunicated and deposed. These heresies, Saint Paul refers to as "strange doctrines." These are "foreign" ones, those are NOT coming from the Authentic Church of Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
"Not only did the Orthodox Church begin under the teaching of the Holy Apostles, but she was also instructed to "STAND FAST AND HOLD THE TRADITIONS WHICH YOUR WERE TAUGHT, WHETHER BY WORD OR OUR EPISTLE" [2 Corinthians 2:15]. The holy Apostle Paul insisted that those matters delivered by him and his fellow Apostles, both in peson and in writings that would come to be called the New Testament (Covenant), TO BE ADHERED TO CAREFULLY. Thus followed such appropriate warnings as "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… WITHDREW FROM EVERY BROTHER WHO WALKS DISHONESTLY AND NOT ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION WHICH HE RECEIVED FROM US" [2 Thessalonians 3:6]. The Doctrines taught by Christ and His Disciples ARE TO BE SAFEGUARDED BY "THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH" [1 Timothy 3:15] AND ARE NOT OPEN TO RENEGOTIATION. AND THE CHURCH WAS STILL YOUNG WHEN A WAY HAD TO BE FOUND FOR PROVIDING THIS SAFEGUARD…
The first three hundred years of Christian history were marked by the appearance of certain heresies or false teachings such as secret philosophic schemes for the elite (Gnosticism), dazzling prophetic aberrations (Montanism), and grave HERESIES regarding the Three Persons of the Trinity (Sabellianism). Then, in the early 4th century, a heresy with potential for Church-wide disruption appeared, propagated by one Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. He denied the eternality of the Son of God, claiming contrary to the Apostles’ Doctrine that the Son was a created being who came into existence at a point in time, and thus was not truly God. This deadly heresy struck the Church like a cancer. The First Ecumenical Synod met in Nicea in A.D. 325 to address this heresy. Some 318 Fathers along with many priests, Deacons, and laymen rejected and condemned the new heretical teaching of Arius.
Between the years A.D. 325 and 787, SEVEN SUCH ECUMENICAL SYNODS WERE CONVENED, meeting in the cities of Nicea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople. Known as THE SEVEN ECUMENICAL COUNCILS (SYNODS), ALL DEALT FIRST AND FOREMOST WITH SAME SPECIFIC CHALLENGE TO THE APOSTOLIC TEACHING ABOUT JESUS CHRIST…The worship of the Church at the close of its first one thousand years had substantially the same shape from place to place. The DOCTRINE WAS THE SAME. THE WHOLE CHURCH CONFESSED ONE CREED, THE SAME IN EVERY PLACE AND HAD WEATHERED MANY ATTACKS. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH WAS RECOGNIZABLY ONE EVERYWHERE, AND THIS One Church was the Orthodox Church.
Tensions began to mount as the first millennium was drawing to a close. While numerous doctrinal, political, economic, and cultural factors were working TO SEPARATE THE CHURCH IN AN EAST-WEST DIVISION, two major issues ultimately emerged above others: (1) that one man, the Pope of Rome, considered himself the universal bishop of the Church and (2) the addition of A NOVEL CLAUSE TO THE Church’s Creed. This clause became known as the FILIOQUE clause which became a dogma for the Latin West and is a substantial and most important deviation from Orthodox truth. The consequence, of course, in the Western Church has been the tendency to relegate the Holy Spirit to a lesser than God the Father and God the Son. The change ma appear small, but the consequences have proven disastously immense. The issue, with the Pope departing from the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, became another instrumental cause separating the Roman Church from the historic Orthodox Church, the New Testament Church.
In Orthodoxy today, as in years gone by, the basics of Christian doctrine, worship, and government ARE NEVER UP FOR ALTERATION. One cannot be an Orthodox priest, for example, and reject the Divinity of Christ, His virgin birth, Resurrection, Ascension into heaven, and Second Coming. The Church simply HAS NOT LEFT ITS COURSE IN TWO THOUSAND YEARS. IT IS One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. It is the New Testament Church.
What, then, is the Orthodox Church? It is the First Christian Church in history, the Church FOUNDED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST; DESCRIBED INT EH PAGES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Her history can be traced IN UNBROKEN CONTINUITY ALL THE WAY BACK TO CHRIST AND HIS TWELVE APOSTLES.
Saint Paul states, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterdasy and today and forever." And, therefore, His Church, the Orthodox Church "is the same yesterday and today, and forever." It is ONLY IN THE THE NEW TESTAMENT Church that one can find THE FULLNESS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT FAITH.
As Orthodox Christians loyal only to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ must emulate our brothers and sisters throughout the centuries to be willing not only to defend the True faith but to be willing to die for it. To denounce every sinister effort to dilute, to disfigure, to corrupt, embrace heretics as so called "brothers and sisters in Christ." These evil forces are determined to create more and more schisms, to confuse the faithful, and to deceive and divide the innocent faithful. Be alert and vigilant and do not trust those disguised themselves as benevolent leaders. The Lord Himself warns us, "BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS WHO COME TO YOU IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING, BUT INWARDLY THEY ARE RAVENOUS WOLVES" (Matthew 7:15). Jesus knows how easy it is for innocent people to be deceived by those who wear a mask of virtue but are in reality corrupt and evil. Saint Luke the Evangelist writes in Acts 20:29, "FOR I KNOW THIS, THAT AFTER MY DEPARTURE SAVAGE WOLVES WILL COME AMONG YOU, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK." These are references to external and INTERNAL TRIALS and PERSECUTIONS and HERESIES.
"Glory Be To GOD