Articles & Topics
WOCA Issues Statement on Washington State Same-Sex Union Bill
The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex. Holy Scripture attests that God creates man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of “one flesh.” This can only involve a relationship based on gender complementarity. “God made them male and female… So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8). The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness. As Orthodox Christian clergy in Washington State we speak with one voice in expressing our deep concern over recent developments. And we pray fervently that the traditional form of marriage, as an enduring and committed union only between a man and a woman, will be honored. Please see our Press Release for complete text
New Orthodox Search Engine Now Available
Orthodox-Christianity.Org announces new Search Engine
"We are pleased to announce you that a new full-text search system covering the whole Orthodox Internetwww.Orthodox-Search.com has been launched.
What makes our service unique is the ability of the search engine to index over 7000 Orthodox sites all over the world Orthodox Internet, while the search index is updated daily thanks to the Google CSE technology. One can submit his search request using the simple search interface, as well as the advanced search form available on the webpage http://www.orthodox-christianity.org/advanced.php. The search results include only the Orthodox websites listed in the Directory www.orthodox-christianity.org, the search results are thereby protected from garbage and exactly match the search request.
You can submit your search request on any of the webpages of the Directory, or, alternatively, you can use the simple search interface www.Orthodox-Search.com."
The Church's First Sermon
The Resurrection is the heart of the Church’s preaching, worship and spiritual life.
Orthodox Church in America-OCA -
Christ fulfills his mission to undo the works of the devil, as he conquers death with death, bestowing life and freedom to all. This is the power of the Resurrection. This is the message of the Church's first sermon!
Christ is risen from the dead! This is the main proclamation of the Christian faith. It forms the heart of the Church’s preaching, worship and spiritual life. “...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:14)In the first sermon ever preached in the history of the Christian Church, the Apostle Peter began his proclamation:
Men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man attended to you by God with mighty works and signs and wonders which God did to him in your midst, as you yourself know this Jesus delivered up according to a definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24)Jesus had the power to lay down his life and the power to take it up again:
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again; this charge I have received from my father. (John 10: 17-18)
According to Orthodox doctrine, there is no competition of “lives” between God and Jesus, and no competition of “powers.” The power of God and the power of Jesus, the life of God and the life of Jesus are one and the same power and life. To say that God has raised Christ, and that Christ has been raised by his own power is to say essentially the same thing. “For as the Father has life in himself,” says Christ, “so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (John 5:26) “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
The Scriptural stress that God has raised up Jesus only emphasizes once more that Christ has given his life, that he has laid it down fully, that he has offered it whole and without reservation to God who then gave it back in his resurrection from the dead.
In a word, the Gospel does not say that the angel moved the stone from the tomb in order to let Jesus out. The angel moved the stone to reveal that Jesus was not there.
The Orthodox Church believes in Christ's real death and his actual resurrection. Resurrection, however, does not simply mean bodily resesitation. Neither the Gospel nor the Church teaches that Jesus was lying dead and then was biologically revived and walked around in the same way that he did before he was killed. In a word, the Gospel does not say that the angel moved the stone from the tomb in order to let Jesus out. The angel moved the stone to reveal that Jesus was not there. (Mark 16; Matthew 28)
In his resurrection Jesus is in a new and glorious form. He appears in different places immediately. He is difficult to recognize. (Luke 24:16; John 20:14) He eats and drinks to show that he is not a ghost. (Luke 24:30, 39) He allows himself to be touched. (John 20:27, 21:9) And yet he appears in the midst of disciples, “the doors being shut,” (John 20:19, 26) And he “vanishes out of their sight.” (Luke 24:31) Christ indeed is risen, but his resurrected humanity is full of life and divinity. It is humanity in the new form of the eternal life of the Kingdom of God.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.
Thus, it is written, the first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam (i.e. Christ) became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man from heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (I Corinthians 15:42-50)
The resurrection of Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection of all humanity. It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, “according to the Scriptures” where it is written, “For Thou doest not give me up unto Sheol (that is, the realm of death), or let Thy Godly one see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:25-36) In Christ all expectations and hopes are filled:
“0 Death, where is your sting? 0 Sheol, where is your victory?” (Hosea 13:34)
He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces . . . It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9)
Come, let us return to the Lord: For He has torn, that He may heal us; He has stricken, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.
Thus says the Lord God: “Behold I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, 0 my people ...
And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, 0 my people.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live ...” (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
On Death and Resurrection in Christ
Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him.
Yesterday I died with Him; today I am made alive with Him.
Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I am raised up with Him.
Let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us ... ourselves, the possession most precious to God and most proper.
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us.
Let us become Divine for His sake, since for us He became Man.
He assumed the worse that He might give us the better.
He became poor that by His poverty we might become rich.
He accepted the form of a servant that we might win back our freedom.
He came down that we might be lifted up.
He was tempted that through Him we might conquer.
He was dishonored that He might glorify us.
He died that He might save us.
He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were thrown down through the fall of sin.
Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself a Ransom and Reconciliation for us.
We needed an incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together with Him that we might be cleansed. We rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him. We were glorified with Him because we rose again with Him.
A few drops of Blood recreate the whole of creation!
• St. Gregory the Theologian Easter Orations