Doctrine & Sacraments

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Doctrine

Icon—The Universal Exaltation (Elevation) of the Life-Creating Cross

We worship God in Trinity, glorifying equally the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; that He is truly God, of one essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ Incarnate is also truly man, like us in all respects except sin. We worship the Holy Spirit as Lord and Giver of Life Who proceeds from the Father. We honor and venerate the Saints as those who have grown "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). We ask their intercession before God knowing that they live in Christ and that nothing, not even death, breaks the bond of love we share with them in Christ. Of the saints, the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Theotokos (Greek for Mother of God), holds a special place as "more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim" (c.f. Lk. 1:48).

Sacraments

We believe that through the sacraments of the Church, grace is imparted, so that the fullness of the Christian life may be lived. Baptism and Chrismation are usually administered together. Baptism, by triple immersion in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, is participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, purification in the washing away of sin, and birth into the life of the Holy Trinity. Chrismation, following Baptism, anoints one with the "seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit."

An Orthodox Baptism
Through the Holy Spirit we are able to live the fullness of the Christian life. We are regenerated and grace is given by which we are able to live the struggle of the commandments of Christ and attain unto the Kingdom of Heaven. In Holy Communion we receive the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, the sanctification of soul and body and life eternal. In confession the Christian receives from Christ, through the Church, the forgiveness of sins committed after baptism. Ordination, marriage and holy unction are the remainder of the seven New Testament sacraments. By the laying-on of hands, a bishop transmits divine grace to the person being ordained, linking him, through the continuing flow of grace that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost, to the uninterrupted succession of Orthodox clergy from the time of Christ to the present. In marriage divine grace unites in a mystery and sanctifies the union of man and woman. Orthodox parish priests are usually married men but the marriage precedes the ordination and there is no remarriage for clergy. The sacrament of holy unction heals, through the anointing of oil by the ministry of the Church, the infirmities of soul and body.

The Church as the gift of life eternal is by its very nature, in its fullness and entirety, a mystical and sacramental reality. It is the life of the Kingdom of God given already to those who believe. And thus, within the Church, everything we do -- our prayers, blessings, good works, thoughts, actions -- everything participates in the life which has no end. In this sense everything which is in the Church and of the Church is a sacrament of the Kingdom of God.