How can I [understand] unless someone should guide me?(Acts 8:31)
Thus said the Ethiopian eunuch to the Apostle Philip when asked if he understood what he was reading in the book of Isaiah.
Understanding what we believe, as Orthodox Christians, is important. If we have blind faith, anyone could convince us to believe in anything.
Pontius Pilate once asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). What he didn’t realize was that Truth was standing right in front of him. Truth is not a concept, but a person; the Person of Jesus Christ. Truth is not relative. As Orthodox Christians, we are in constant search of the truth, which is to say, we are constantly in search of Christ.
With all the information out there, all of the different interpretations of Scripture, all the different opinions, what makes Orthodox Christianity unique?
First, Orthodox Christianity is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and established by the Apostles. This is not just true historically (we can trace our roots back, literally to Christ’s Apostles), but it is true theologically, as our teachings have not changed in 2000 years from the teachings of our Savior and His disciples and Apostles.
Second, the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, a language that the Greek Orthodox Church is very familiar with. We do not simply translate the Bible to English, we explain it in English based on the understanding of those who actually know the language in which the scriptures were written. The Scriptures were written in a different time and in a language that is no longer used outside of the Church and ancient manuscripts. We rely on those who lived during those first centuries after the Resurrection – Orthodox Theologians – who can best explain to us the teachings of God.
Finally, a theologian, in the Orthodox Church, is not one who simply studies religion, but one who prays. Our Theologians were not professors or men that held advanced degrees, but those holy men and women who dedicated themselves through prayer, fasting, good works, ascetical labors, and yes of course, studying. These holy fathers and mothers of the Church did more than read about God. They got to know Him on a personal level. They were inspired by the same Holy Spirit who wrote the Gospels through the hands of the Evangelists.
The purposes of our Lord’s incarnation were to restore, teach, and save. The Orthodox Church spends a great deal of effort trying to understand God and His will for us through prayer, fasting, and study.
We have a number of educational resources right here on our website, including links for good places to go for more information. To learn more about the Orthodox Church, email the Dean of the Cathedral through the contact tab.