Becoming Orthodox – 1

St Paul preaching in Athens

How do we become Orthodox? How do we become more Orthodox? It might seem that the answer is concerned only with external things such as a familiarity with the forms of worship and prayer used by Orthodox Christians, and a knowledge of the particular doctrines which the Orthodox Churches teach. But in fact, Orthodoxy insists that it is nothing more nor less than Christianity itself. The Orthodox Churches believe that they are the direct successors of the Apostles, and preserve the life, faith and spiritual practice of the first Christians in an unbroken continuity.

To discover Orthodoxy for the first time, or to increase our knowledge and experience of Orthodoxy, must be the same as becoming more completely Christian in accordance with the life of the first and the original and the Apostolic Christian community. It is not understood by Orthodox Christians as the expression of one denomination among many, but as representing the fulness of the Christian Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles themselves and preserved through the ages to the present time.

We cannot be born into Orthodoxy, or be Orthodox by accident, since it is Christianity itself. We are born again into Orthodoxy and must make a definite decision, even day by day, to embrace more completely this Apostolic life in Christ. The one who seeks to discover Christianity for the first time, the believer in Christ who is interested in the Orthodox understanding of Christianity, and the one who became a member of an Orthodox Church even in their infancy through sacramental baptism, must all follow the same determined investigation and increasing participation in the experience and understanding of Orthodoxy as the invitation to fulness of the Christian life even without knowing that is what they are doing, but knowing always that they desire more of God.

All of us are called and invited to become more Orthodox, more completely Christian, by a true, personal experience of the spiritual life which the Orthodox Churches have received from the Apostles, and by the grace and activity of the Holy Spirit, despite the weakness of men. It is by participating in Orthodoxy, in the fulness of Christianity itself, that we come to understand Orthodoxy as the life in Christ, the abundant life he offers. Each one of us begins where we find ourselves in this common journey. But the goal for all is the overwhelming, transforming and transfiguring experience of union with God in Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is what it means to become truly Orthodox, to become truly Christian, to experience and participate in the life of God by grace according to the Apostolic teaching, still taught in the Orthodox and Apostolic Churches as a present possibility and reality.   fffffffffffff

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