by Tracey Allen
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those who've seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," you've
had a peek at the Orthodox Church. But Orthodoxy is more than
an ethic enclave. It is currently the fastest growing church in
North America, but it is far from being the new kid on the block.
Orthodox Church was established on the day of Pentecost (50 days
after the Ascension of Christ). The Church structure grew and
services became more elaborate and ornate but still remained faithful
to the apostolic teachings.
of the greatest aspects of Orthodoxy is its deep spiritual life.
The most popular prayer is the ‘Jesus Prayer,' made famous
by an Orthodox monk detailed in the book, "The Way of the
Pilgrim." It is simply said, "Lord Jesus Christ Son
of God, have mercy on me a sinner." It is also known as the
prayer of the heart.
worship is the foundation of the Church and remains unchanged
to this day. The sacraments or mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation,
Confession, Eucharist (Communion), Marriage, Unction (Anointing),
and Holy Orders (Priesthood) are seen as the vehicles of grace
when preformed by a priest.
most defining characteristics of the Church are its use of icons,
incense, and processions. The Church firmly believes in touching
the senses and creating a spiritual oneness with God and this
is assisted through the windows to heaven the icons provide, the
ascending of prayer represented by the smoke from the incense
and the participation in worship offered by the processions during
various Church seasons.
by its definition is true praise and its steadfast in holding
to tradition makes it the first and only Church established by
the apostles of Christ.
article only touches on an overview of the Orthodox faith and
cannot even attempt to briefly explain the deep spiritual path
of the Eastern Church, as it is something that must be experienced.
interested in learning more about the Orthodox Church on PEI is
welcome to call Father Stephen Allen at 892-6914. For information
online "Meeting the Orthodox: 25 Questions and Answers on
the Orthodox Faith," please visit: http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A/index.html
Allen is a professional writer and member of the Periodical Writers
Association of Canada. Her family discovered Orthodoxy after researching
the writings of the Church Fathers, and was welcomed into the
Orthodox faith nine years ago.
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