..The Intuitive Times
Spiritual Practices


The Orthodox Church

by Tracey Allen

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For 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.

The 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.

One 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.

Sacramental 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.

The 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.

Orthodoxy 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.

This 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.

Anyone 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

Tracey 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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