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An Orthodox Catechism

I. INTRODUCTION

What is a Catechism?
A Catechism is a short exposition of the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ in question and answer form.

Why are the teachings of Christ necessary for us?
To lead us to God, to salvation and to happiness.

How do we come near to God?
By thought, wish and deed. By thought in believing in Him; by wish in praying to Him and by deed in fulfilling the will and Law of God.

From what source may we learn how to believe in God?
The Creed.

From what source do we learn to pray?
The Lord's Prayer.

From what source do we learn to live according to the will and Law o f God?
The Ten Commandments.

Where do we find Christ's teachings about happiness?
In the Beatitudes.

Why are we called Eastern Orthodox Christians?
We are Christians through believing in our Lord Jesus Christ and Eastern Orthodox Christians through, believing in the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

II. THE CREED

What is the Creed?
It is a short expounding of the Orthodox faith, composed at the first two Ecumenical Councils, and consisting of twelve articles.

What is an Ecumenical Council?
An assembly of the clergy from all parts of the world.

THE FIRST ARTICLE

How does the first article of the Creed read?
I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

Who is spoken of in the first article?
God the Father.

What is meant by the words, "I believe"?
A belief that all the teachings of the Faith in this Creed are true.

Who is God?
God is a spirit, eternal, all-good, omniscient, all-just, almighty, omnipresent, all-sufficing, never-changing and all-blessed. From Him everything originated and by Him everything is sustained.

What is revealed to us concerning the Holy Trinity?
God is One but is Trine in Person -- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit -- an Undivided and Consubstantial Trinity.

What difference is there between the Persons of the Holy Trinity?
God the Father is neither begotten nor proceeds from any other person. The Son of God is from all eternity begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit, from all eternity, proceeds from the Father. The three Persons of the Holy Trinity are of equal Divine majesty.

Why is God called Almighty?
He upholds all things in His power and His will.

Why is God called the Maker?
He created the heaven and the earth, and all things visible and invisible.

What is meant by the word "invisible"?
The unseen spiritual world which includes incorporeal Angels who have intelligence, will and power.

What is meant by the word "Angel"?
A messenger, because God sends the Angels to announce His will to the people. There are also evil Angels who do not obey God and teach evil to the people.

What is a Guardian Angel?
An Angel given to us from God at the time of our baptism to guard us from evil.

What do we know of the visible world?
In the beginning, God created the visible world in six days and, lastly, and in His image, man.

Does God take care of the world?
Yes, He preserves and directs it.

THE SECOND ARTICLE

How does the second article of the Creed read?
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten, not created, being of one substance with the Father; through whom all things were made.

Who is spoken of in the second article?
Jesus Christ; the Son of God; the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

What does the name Jesus Christ mean?
Jesus means Savior and Christ means Anointed.

Why is Christ called the Son of God, the Only Begotten?
He is the only Son of God, begotten of the substance of God the Father. Begotten before all ages, He is eternal.

What is meant by the words, "Light of Light, True God of True God"?
God the Father and God the Son are one indivisible Divine person just as light appears simultaneously with the rising of the sun. Just as the Father is True God, so also the Son is True God.

Why is it said, "begotten, not created"?
This is stated to contradict the false doctrine of Arius, who taught that Jesus Christ was mortal and not of Divine creation.

What is meant by "of one substance with the Father"?
Jesus Christ is of one and the same substance with God the Father and has the same Divine nature as God.

What is meant by the words "through Whom all things were made"?
God the Father created all things through His Son.

THE -THIRD ARTICLE

How does the third article of.the Creed read?
Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became Man.

What is spoken of in this article?
The Son of God came from heaven to save the people from sin, the curse, and death. God has always been both in heaven and on earth. Invisible before, He afterwards became a visible mortal, taking upon himself the flesh and soul of man.

What is meant by the words "and was incarnate"?
The Son of God took upon Himself human form, except sin, without ceasing to be God. He was incarnated from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.

Who was the Virgin Mary?
The Blessed Virgin Mary was of the family of Abraham and David, the lineage of Israel that was given the promise of the Savior. She is called the Ever-Virgin because she always was and is a virgin.

How does the Eastern Orthodox Church teach of the dignity of the Virgin Mary?
The Orthodox Church gives her the title of "Mother of God" (Theotokos) and honors her far above the cherubim and seraphim.

THE FOURTH ARTICLE

How does the fourth article of the Creed read?
And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried.

What is spoken of in this article?
The suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

Being God, how could Christ suffer?
He suffered and died as man, by His own good will, for our sins. He actually suffered all the pain and torture of a death on the cross.

What does the reference to Pontius Pilate express?
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea. He conducted- the trial of Jesus. The reference to Pilate indicates the time of the crucifixion.

THE FIFTH ARTICLE

How does the fifth article of the Creed read?
And rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

What is spoken of in this article?
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His death.

By what power did Christ rise from the dead?
The power of His Divinity.

How does the Resurrection of Christ affect us?
Christ, having risen from the grave, obtained victory over death and made possible to all believers Resurrection and life eternal.

What is meant by the words "according to the Scriptures"?
Christ was born, lived on earth, suffered and died, and arose from the dead as had been foretold by prophets long before.

Did Christ appear on earth after His Resurrection?
Yes, ten. times. His last appearance was forty days after the Resurrection.

THE SIXTH ARTICLE

How, does the sixth article of the Creed read?
And ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.

What is spoken of in this article?
The ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.

When and how did Christ ascend into heaven?
His ascension, witnessed by all of His faithful disciples, took place on the Mount of Olives forty days after His Resurrection. His ascension was with His real human body.

What is signified by Christ's sitting beside His Father?
Christ has one and the same power, honor and glory together with God the Father.

THE SEVENTH ARTICLE

How does the seventh article of the Creed read?
And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. And His kingdom shall have no end.

What is spoken of in this article?
Christ will come again in glory, from heaven to earth, to judge all living people and those resurrected from the dead.

Who and what will Christ judge on His second coming?
The judgment will be the same for all people. Sinful deeds, words and thoughts will be condemned by the Lord.

When will Christ's second coming take place?
The time is not known, even to angels, but many signs of His second coming have been revealed to us. Love among the peoples of the earth will cease. Faith will decrease and sins will multiply. Calamities such as wars, pestilence and earthquakes will prevail and the antichrist will appear.

Who is antichrist?
The antichrist is the adversary of Jesus Christ who, by the power of Satan, will perform false miracles and strive to destroy Christianity. He will claim for himself the worship due to God but in the end the Lord will destroy him.

What is meant by "And His kingdom shall have no end"?
Christ will reign eternally. over the righteous.

THE EIGHTH ARTICLE

How does the eighth article of the Creed read?
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the. Father and Son is worshiped and glorified. Who spoke by the prophets.

Who is spoken of in this article?
The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity.

Why is the Holy Spirit called the "Giver of Life"?
Together with the Father and Son, He gives life to all creatures, especially spiritual life to men.

What is meant by the words, "Who proceeds from the Father"?
The meaning is that the Holy Spirit does proceed from God the Father. Christ Himself said: "...the Spirit of truth, who proceeded from the Father, He shall testify of Me."

What is meant by the words "Who together with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified"?
The Holy Spirit equal with the Father and the Son while being together with them, and should be worshiped and glorified just as God the Father and God the Son are. This is indicated in Christ's command to baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

What is meant by the words "Who spoke by the prophets"?
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets just as He spoke through the Apostles in the New Testament. The books of the prophets as well as the writings of the Apostles were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is communicated to Christians through prayer and the Sacraments.

THE NINTH ARTICLE

How does the ninth article of the Creed read?
And in one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

What is spoken of in this article?
The Church.

What is the Church?
The Church is a body of Christians, united by the Seven Sacraments, the Hierarchy and the Orthodox faith.

Why is the Church one?
The Church is one because it has one Head, Christ, and but one Orthodox doctrine. The Church is the Body of Christ -- He is to the Church what the soul is to the body.

Why is the Church holy?
It is sanctified by the doctrines and Passions of Christ.

Why is the Church Catholic?
Catholic means universal and the Church is universal because it includes all of the Orthodox believers of all lands, of all times and of all peoples.

Why is the Church Apostolic?
The Church is Apostolic because it was spread throughout the world by the Apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests.

What is the highest earthly authority of the Church?
The authority of the Ecumenical Council.

What is the highest authority in the provincial churches?
The Patriarch or Archbishop and his synod.

THE TENTH ARTICLE

How does the tenth article of the Creed read?
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.

What is spoken of in this article?
The Sacrament of Baptism.

What is a Sacrament?
A Sacrament is a holy act through which the Grace of the Holy Spirit is given. It is a visible sign of invisible Divine Grace.

How many Sacraments are there?
Seven. They include Baptism, Chrismation, Communion, Penance; Ordination (the Priesthood), Matrimony and Unction with Oil (last rites).

What does Baptism consist of?
The believer, through being immersed three times in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is born into spiritual life.

What does Chrismation consist of?
The baptized believer is anointed with Holy Chrism (Holy Oil blessed by Bishops) as the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What does the Sacrament of Communion consist of?
In the form of bread and wine, believers partake of the very Body and Blood of Christ.

When was the Sacrament of Communion instituted?
At the Last Supper by Jesus when He blessed bread, broke it and gave it to the disciples and took the chalice and gave thanks and gave it to them to drink.

How do Orthodox Christians receive Communion?
In the form of bread and wine -- the very Body and Blood of Christ.

What does Penance consist of?
Confession of sins by the believer before a priest with forgiveness from God then received.

What does the Sacrament of Ordination (Holy Orders) consist of?
The ordained, by the laying on of hands of the Bishops, receive the grace to minister the Sacraments.

How many degrees of Priesthood are there?
Three. Bishops, Priests and Deacons.

How do these differ?
Deacons serve at the Sacraments; Priests perform the Sacraments with the exception of Ordination; and Bishops perform all of the Sacraments.

What does the Sacrament of Matrimony consist of?
The union of man and woman in wedlock is blessed in the image of the union of Christ with His church.

What does Unction with Oil consist of?
The sick, anointed with oil, receive from God the grace of becoming healed.

THE ELEVENTH ARTICLE

How does the eleventh article of the Creed read?
I look for the Resurrection of the dead.

What is spoken of in this article?
All of the dead will arise again at the end of the world and become immortal.

What shall become of the people living at the time of the second coming of Christ?
Their bodies shall be changed and they, also, shall become immortal.

THE TWELFTH ARTICLE

How does the twelfth article of the Creed read?
And the life in the world to come. Amen.

What is spoken of in this article?
After the general Resurrection there shall be, to the just, an eternal life of blessedness, and for the unrepentant sinners, an everlasting life of torment.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Why is this prayer called the Lord's Prayer?
It was given to the Apostles and to all Christians by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

How is the Lord's Prayer divided?
Into the Invocation, the Seven Petitions and the Doxology.

How does the Invocation read?
Our Father, Who art in Heaven. We call God our Father because we love Him, as children love their father.

How does the first petition read?
Hallowed be Thy Name.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask God. to help us keep His , Holy Name in our minds and hearts and that we may live according to His law and thus glorify Him among people.

How does the second petition read?
Thy Kingdom come.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask His help that the Spirit of God ;may lead us to good and to happiness and that sin should not reign in us.

How does the third petition read?
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask that all things in our life should come through the Will of God.

How does the fourth petition read?
Give us this day our daily bread.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask God to provide all of our daily needs for the present day -- food, .clothing and shelter.

How does the fifth petition read?
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What do we ask of God in this petition?:
We ask that God forgive our sins as we, in turn, forgive those who have done wrongs to us. If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.

How does the sixth petition read?
And lead us not into temptation.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask God to drive away the temptations that lead us to sin. These temptations come from ourselves, from evil people, and from Satan.

How does the seventh petition read?
But deliver us from evil.

What do we ask of God in this petition?
We ask God to keep us and protect us from evil and misfortune.

How does the doxology of the Lord's Prayer read?
For Thine is thee Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

What does this doxology express?
Through it we express the hope that God will grant us all our petitions, because everything is within His Power and Might.

IV. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Who gave the Ten Commandments?
The Lord God Himself, through the prophet Moses, gave the Commandments on Mount Sinai on the fiftieth day of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.

Why must Christians keep the Ten Commandments?
Christ Himself instructed Christians to keep the Commandments as recorded in the Gospel.

What is the first commandment?
I am the Lord thy God; thou shall have no other gods before Me.

What are we commanded to do by this commandment?
We must acknowledge God in thought; believe in Him with our heart, and love Him; to glorify Him by words of our mouth, and to serve Him with our whole being.

What regard should we have for the Angels and for the Saints of God?
We should venerate them as the servants of God; because of their love for us they pray to God for us.

What are the sins against the first commandment?
Serving other false gods instead of the One True God, failing to pray to God in the home and non-attendance at church.

What is the second commandment?
Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shall not worship them, nor serve them.

What does God forbid in this commandment?
The worship of idols.

What is an idol?
An idol is a hand-wrought statue or figure serving as a representation of a false deity, such as the golden calf fashioned by the Hebrews and worshiped as their god.

What is an Icon?
Icons are the Holy Pictures used in Eastern Orthodox churches to represent Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints. They are correctly, used for religious remembrance, and prayers to God and the Saints are offered before them because in so doing we raise our minds and hearts to God and the Saints portrayed on the Icons.

What is the third commandment?
Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

What is forbidden by this commandment?
The use of the name of God in a wrong way.

When may the name of' God be used?
In prayers, in the instruction of religion and when lawful authority requires the swearing of an oath.

What is the fourth commandment?
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.

What does this commandment require of us?
Six days are for work but the seventh day is dedicated to God for church attendance, for visiting the sick and for other good deeds.

Why does God command us to keep the seventh day holy?
God created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. The word Sabbath is from the Hebrew and means day of rest. In Old Testament times Saturday was the seventh day and was observed as the Sabbath but Christians consecrate Sunday, the first day of the week to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ.

What other Orthodox days beside Sunday should we consecrate?
The holy days honoring the Lord, the Virgin Mary and the Saints. Fasting days should also be observed.

What is the fifth commandment?
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

What does God require of us in this commandment?
He commands us to honor, respect and obey our parents. We are also expected to respect those who stand in place of parents such as the government, spiritual fathers and teachers.

What is the sixth commandment?
Thou shall not kill.

What does God forbid in this commandment?

He forbids the taking of human life by force or guile and forbids strife, hatred and cruelty which may shorten life.

What is the seventh commandment?
Thou shall not commit adultery.

What does God forbid in this commandment?
He forbids unclean thoughts, feelings, words and deeds and lustful pleasures. It is also sinful to read obscene books, to sing or listen to immoral songs or to look at shameless pictures and entertainment.

What is the eighth commandment?
Thou shall not steal.

What does God forbid in this commandment?
He forbids the taking of things that belong to others, either by open force or secretly.

What is the ninth commandment?
Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

What does God forbid in this commandment?
He forbids us to testify falsely against any person in court or to slander or defame anyone.

What is the tenth commandment?
Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.

What does God forbid in this commandment?
He forbids us to do evil by covetous means. Evil desires may lead to evil deeds.

THE BEATITUDES

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

To be poor in spirit is to have a spiritual conviction that we have nothing of our own, nothing but what God bestows upon us, and that we can do nothing without God's help and grace, thus counting ourselves as nothing, and in all throwing ourselves upon the mercy of God; spiritual poverty is humility. (St. John Chr. Hom. Mat. XV.)

2. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.

By the word "mourn" is meant this precept: Sorrow and contrition of heart, with unfeigned tears, for that we so imperfectly and unworthily serve the Lord, or even rather deserve His anger by our sins. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of this world worketh death. (2 Cor. VII:10.)

3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness is quiet disposition of spirit, joined with care neither to offend any man, nor be offended at any think one's self. To never murmur against God, nor even against men, when anything falls out against our wishes, nor give way to anger, nor set ourselves up.

4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they shall be filled.

The word "righteousness" may stand for every virtue, which the Christian ought to desire even as his meat and drink and the justification of guilty man through; race and faith in Jesus Christ.

5. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.

The works of mercy are corporal and spiritual. To obtain mercy is understood to be delivered from everlasting, condemnation for sin at God's Judgment.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.

Purity of heart is attained by constant and strict watchfulness over oneself, driving away from the heart every unlawful wish and thought, and every affection for earthly things, and ever keeping in heart the remembrance of God and our Lord Jesus Christ with faith and charity.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they will be called the sons of God.

We must not only keep peace but as well to make peace.

8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

The eighth precept for blessedness requires love for righteousness, constancy and firmness in virtue, fortitude and patience, when one is subjected to calamity or danger for refusing to betray truth and virtue.

9. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all matter of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in Heaven.

The ninth precept for blessedness requires that they who would be blessed must be ready to take with joy reproach, suffering, and death itself, for the true Orthodox Christian Faith. The course required by this precept is the course of Martyrdom, and a great Reward in Heaven is promised by the Lord for Martyrdom for the Faith.

CONCLUSION

APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH AND PIETY

Q. How must we apply the doctrine of faith and piety?

A. We must act according to our knowledge; and keep before our eyes the fearful judgment threatened for disobedience.

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:17.) That servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 72:47.)

Q. What must a man do (a man or a woman, boy or a girl), when he is conscious of a sin?

A. Not only should he immediately repent, and firmly resolve to avoid the same sin for the future, but also strive , as far as possible, to repair the scandal or injury that he has wrought by contrary good deeds

.

Thus it was that Zaccheus the Publican acted, when he said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing away from anyone by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. (Luke XIX:8.)

Q. What caution do we reed, when we seem to ourselves to have fulfilled any Commandment?

A. We must then dispose our heart according to the words of Jesus Christ: "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke XVII:10.)

THE PRAYERS

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (3.)

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O, heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasure of blessings and the Giver of life, come and abide in us and cleanse us from every impurity, and save, O Gracious One, our souls.

O Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, 'have mercy on us. (3.)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now, and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord cleanse away our sins; O Master, forgive us our iniquities; O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name's sake. Lord, have mercy. (3.) Glory to the Father..., both now, and ever.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come ; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, aid the Power, and the Glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Hail, O Mother of God and Virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, for Thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.

Meet it is, in truth, to bless Thee, the Birth-giver of God, Ever-blessed and All-undefiled, and the Mother of God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, Thou Who without defilement barest God the Word, true Birth-giver of God, we magnify Thee.

O come, let us worship God our King. O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and God. O come, let us worship and fall down before the Very Christ, our King and our God.

PRAYER AS WE ENTER THE DOOR OF A CHURCH

"I will come into thy House in the multitude of thy mercy; I will bow down before thy Holy Temple in fear of thee."

A PRAYER OF CHILDREN FOR THEIR PARENTS

O Merciful Lord God, Thou halt commanded and enjoined me to honor my father and mother, and truly Thou also halt shown even until death humble obedience to Thy parents. From the depth of my soul I fervently beseech Thee, O Sweet Jesus, my God, hear my prayer and have mercy on my parents, who have and are bringing me up in Thy grace and love. Protect them from all evil, harm and sickness, grant them health, and mercifully pour forth Thy bountiful blessings upon them, Bless their efforts and deeds, have mercy on them according to Thy great mercy, that, faithfully serving Thee, through them I also may be worthy to praise and serve Thee. Amen.

FOR DEPARTED PARENTS

With the Saints give rest O Christ to the souls of Thy servants (my parents) where there is neither sickness nor sorrow nor sighing, but life everlasting.

THE SYMBOL OF THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN FAITH

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in One Lord: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds. Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, and by Whom all things were made.

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.

And rose again the third day according to the Scripture.

And ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.

And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets.

In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.

I look for the resurrection of the dead.

And the life in the world to come. Amen.

COMMANDMENTS OF GOD

The first and greatest Commandment:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

The second is like unto it:

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mat. 22-37-39.)

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD

1. I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have no other gods beside Me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them.

3. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep holy: six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord thy God.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long upon the earth.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his land, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any of his cattle, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

THE THREE CARDINAL VIRTUES

Faith -- Hope -- Charity

THE SEVEN HOLY SACRAMENTS

1. Baptism.

2. Unction with Chrism (Confirmation).

3. Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion).

4. Penitence.

5. Holy Orders (Priesthood).

6. Matrimony.

7. Unction with oil (Extreme Unction).

THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1. Wisdom.

2. Understanding.

3. Counsel.

4. Fortitude.

5. Knowledge.

6. Piety.

7. Fear of God.

THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1. Love.

2. Joy.

3. Peace.

4. Patience.

5. Graciousness.

6. Compassion.

7. Fidelity.

8. Meekness.

9. Continence.

THE BEATITUDES

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

2. Blessed are they That mourn; for they shall be comforted.

3. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.

4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they shall be filled.

5. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.

8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

9. Blessed are ye, when men revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in Heaven. (Mat. 5:3 12.)

THE SEVEN CORPORAL WORKS

1. To feed the hungry.

2. To give drink to the thirsty.

3. To clothe the naked.

4. To show hospitality to strangers.

5. To visit the sick.

6. To visit the imprisoned.

7. To bury the dead.

THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY

1. To admonish sinners.

2. To instruct the ignorant.

3. To counsel the doubtful.

4. To pray to the Lord for the salvation of thy neighbor.

5. To comfort the sorrowful.

6. To bear wrongs patiently.

7. To forgive all injuries.

THE SEVEN MORTAL SINS

1. Pride.

2. Greed.

3. Lewdness.

4. Envy (Jealousy).

5. Gluttony (Overfeeding).

6. Anger.

7. Indolence (Laziness).

THE FOUR LAST THINGS TO BE REMEMBERED

1. Death.

2. Judgment.

3. Heaven.

4. Hell.

THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH

1. To attend Divine Services on Sundays and Holy days.

2. To keep fasts appointed by the Church.

3. To have confession of sins and receive the Holy Communion once or more every year.

4. To contribute to the support of the Church.

5. To say morning and evening prayers to God.

THE CONFESSION BEFORE THE SPIRITUAL FATHER

I, a sinner, confess to the Lord God Almighty, One in the Holy Trinity, to the All-pure Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to my holy Guardian Angel, to all Saints, and to you, my spiritual Father, all my sins.

PRAYER AFTER CONFESSION OF SINS

For these and all other known and unknown sins I am heartfully sorry, that I have offended and angered the Good God against me; I repent sincerely and I promise, with help of God, to better my life. Wherefore, I humbly ask you, my Spiritual Father, to give me salutary penance and absolution.

THE PRAYER BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION

I believe, O Lord, and confess, that Thou art, in very truth, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is, of a truth, Thine all-pure Body, and that this is Thine own precious Blood. Wherefore, I beseech Thee, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, whether voluntary or involuntary; whether of word or of deed; whether committed with knowledge or in ignorance. And vouchsafe that I may partake without condemnation of Thine all-pure Mysteries unto the remission of my sins and unto life eternal. Amen.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me to-day as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither, like Judas, will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

And let not this participation in Thy Holy Mysteries be unto judgment upon me, or unto condemnation, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body. Amen.

EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

(The questions that you may ask yourself before confessing)

Have you had doubts in matter of Faith?

Have you murmured against God in adversity, or despaired of His mercies?

Do you know the Ten Commandments?

Have you sinned against any of these Commandments?

Do you attend Church regularly?

Have you attended dances, theatres or other entertainments during Lent?

Have you believed or consulted fortune tellers?

Have you neglected your morning and evening prayers?

Have you spoken with levity of Religious or Sacred objects?

Have you taken the Name of God in vain?

Have you sworn falsely?

Have you cursed yourself, or others or any creatures?

Have you angered others?

Have you kept Holy the day of the Lord?

Have you done any servile work not of necessity on Sunday or Holydays?

Have you honored your parents, superiors, teachers, also your Spiritual Fathers?

Have you shown due respect to aged persons?

Have you desired, or hastened the death of any one?

Have you oppressed any one?

Have you borne hatred, or desired revenge?

Have you refused to speak to others?

Have you injured other people in any manner?

Have you caused enmity between others?

Have you been in bad company?

Did you read indecent books?

Have you been guilty of unclean songs, words or actions?

Have you willfully entertained impure thoughts, or desires?

Have you taken anything that did not belong to you?

Have you deceived anyone in time of buying or selling anything?

Have you borne false witness against any one?

Have you passed a rash judgment upon any person?

Have you coveted anything that belongs to another?

Have you gone to confession and Holy Communion at least once a year?

Have you kept fasts of the Church?

Do you mention your living or dead parents and relatives in your prayers?

Do you contribute for the support of your Church?

THE FEASTS (Holy Days) AND FASTS (Posti) OF THE ORTHODOX CATHOLIC EASTERN CHURCH

1) Palm Sunday; 2) Easter Sunday; 3) Ascension of Jesus Christ; 4) Pentecost (Trinity Sunday and the day of Holy Spirit); 5) The Nativity of Jesus Christ (Christmas, Dec. 25, January 7); 6) The Epiphany (Jordan), January 6 (19); 7) The Meeting of our Lord Jesus Christ (February 2 (15); 8) The Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, Aug. 6, (l9); 9) The Exaltation of the Holy and the Life-giving Cross, Sept. 14 (27); 10) The Nativity of Holy Virgin Mary, Sept. 8 (21); 11) The Presentation in the Temple of Holy virgin Mary Dec. 4 (Nov. 21); 12) The Annunciation of the Birth-giver of God, March 25 (April 7); 13) The Assumption of Holy Virgin Mary, August 15 (28)..

1) The Circumcision of Jesus Christ, New Year, Jan. 1 (14); 2) Three Saints, Jan. 20, Feb. 12); 3) The Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24 (July 7); 4) The Feast of St. Peter and Paul, June 29 (July 12); 5) Be heading of St. John the Baptist, August 29 (Sept. 11); 6) The Protection of Holy Virgin Mary, October 1 (14); 7) The Feast of St. Michael the Archangel; November 8 (21); 8) The Feast of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6 (19)..

The Fasts of the Church:

The Great Fast (Lent) lasts 48 days before Easter. The Fast of St. Peter and Paul begins on Monday after Sunday of all Saints and lasts till July 12. The Fast which precedes the Feast of the Falling Asleep of Holy Virgin Mary, or Assumption of Holy Virgin Mary, lasts 14 days (August 14 till Aug. 28). The fast preparatory to Christmas from November 15 (28) -- Christmas. All Wednesdays and Fridays except after Christmas, Sunday of Publican and Pharisee, Easter Sunday and Pentecost. The Eve of Epiphany (Shchedri Vecher), the Feast of Exaltation of the Cross, and the Feast of Beheading of St. John the Baptist..

The Seasons in which the Church does not allow public dances:

In all four Fasts, and from the beginning of the Fast before Christmas till the Feast of Epiphany (Jordan), Nov. 28 (Jan. 20). The Great Lent till the First Sunday after Easter or the Sunday of Thomas, on the Feast of Exaltation of the Cross, and the Feast of Beheading of St. John the Baptist..

THE MEANING. OF THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

.

The position of our fingers as we make the Sign of the Cross has a definite meaning. We join together the thumb, index finger, and middle finger of our right hand. This means that God is three in Person; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yet ONE in Essence..

With-the other two fingers of our right hand we touch the palm. This means that Christ is both God and Man..

By touching first our forehead, then our breast, then our right shoulder, lastly our left shoulder, we pray that our mind, body, and heart be made pleasing to God..

By the Sign of the Cross we also express our faith in all the things which Christ the Savior taught us and did for us: by joining the three fingers we express our faith in the Most Holy Trinity, consubstantial and undivided; by the two fingers bent to the palm of the hand we express our belief in the descent to earth of the Son of God, and in His having assumed humanity without divesting Himself of His divinity, thus uniting both natures in Himself, the divine and the human. By touching our brow, breast and shoulders, we express our belief that the Triune God hath sanctified our thoughts, feelings, desires and acts; lastly, by making on our person the sign of the cross, we express our belief that Christ hath sanctified our soul and saved us by His sufferings on the cross..

THE RUSSIAN FORM OF THE CROSS OR BIBLICAL CROSS

Father John of Cronstadt explains the Russian form of the Cross:.

"In our service of the Ninth Hour the hour of the death of our Savior, under the title of "Glory to Thee." we read the following Troparion: "Between two thieves the rightful measure (the correct balance) is to be found, Thy cross; the one led down into hell, through the weight of words of blasphemy; the other relieved from the burdens of his sign, into the knowledge of Divinity O Christ, our God, glory to Thee." The meaning of the verse is as follows: the cross of Christ stood for the rightful retribution (the rightful balance, the scales) between the two thieves, who hung on their crosses at the same time with Christ; because one of them sank into hell dragged down by his blasphemous words, and the other, the wise thief, ascended into heaven as if soaring on light wings, because of his repentance, and his profession, "Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom." This makes it clear why the lower crosswise bar is placed at a sharp angle..

The upper bar of the cross represents nothing else than the inscription, which was nailed to the top of the Christ's cross: "And they crucified Him..." and a superscription of His accusation was written over, "The king of the Jews" (Matt. 27-32; Mark 15; 26.).

The middle crossbar was where the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ were nailed to, the lowest crossbar -- where the feet of Jesus rested, and to that bar is ascribed the symbolism of the two thieves..

The properly shaped eight pointed Russian Orthodox Cross more fully symbolizes the Crucifixion than the simple Cross of Western Christians, four pointed Cross..

The foot board is acknowledged to be a necessary attribute of the cross worthy of veneration and prophetically spoken of in the words, "let us bow before the place where His feet stand.".

Another question: Why is the foot board of the cross of Christ pointed the right side up, and the left down and the head of Christ also inclined to the right? Answer: Christ makes His right foot light and lifts it ]above the footboard in order to lighten the sins of the ones who believe in Him, so than, on His second coming, they should soar up to meet Him. And His left foot He lowers on the footboard in order that those who do not believe in Him should be weighed down and descend into hell. His head is inclined to the right, that He might incline all the heathens to believe and worship Him.

Taken from: "Faith of our Fathers -- The Eastern Orthodox Religion" by Stan W. Carlson and The Very Rev. Leonid Soroka, Dean UMW Published by The Olympic Press, Minneapolis, MN -- Copyright 1954, revised in 1958. Officially approved for publication by Metropolitan Leonty, Archbishop of NY, Primate, ROGCChurch of NA, and The Rev. Joseph Stephanko, Censor, St. Andrew of Crete Day, NY City, NY.

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