An Introduction to Orthodox Christianity
Purpose of the Course
· To reacquaint an Orthodox Christian with his or her Faith years after he or she “graduated” from Sunday School.
· To help the non-Orthodox spouses of Orthodox Christians understand their mate’s religion.
· To familiarize participants with the history, teachings and doctrines of the Orthodox Christian Church.
· To enhance the student’s understanding of the Orthodox Christian faith and lifestyle.
· To begin to prepare an individual who has an interest in becoming an Orthodox Christian communicant.
The Church Year
The season from Pre-Lent to Pentecost in the Orthodox Church is rich in liturgical celebration and festal commemoration. Observances such as the Feast days of St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mary of Egypt, Pascha, and Pentecost take place during this time of year. The liturgical significance of all this time of year and meaning of all festal observances will be made.
The Major Feast Days of Our Lord and The Theotokos (Mother of God)
The Bible, Prayer and Fasting
Orthodox Christianity teaches that there are three pathways that lead to God and a personal relationship with Him: The Bible, Prayer and Fasting. The how and why of these three pathways will be discussed.
The Divine Liturgy and How to Live It - Part 1 & 2
The Divine Liturgy is the central act of worship in the Orthodox Church. Though regarded by many as a ritualistic gem, the reality is that many contemporary Christians neither understand liturgy, nor do they know how to meaningfully participate in the Divine Liturgy. How to come to better know the Divine Liturgy and worship will be the thrust of the discussion.
The Sacraments and What They Do for Us
The Orthodox Church is a Sacramental Church. The so-called “Seven” Sacraments (Baptism, Chrismation, Eucharist, Confession, Unction, Marriage, and Ordination) will be discussed. The relationship of Sacraments to Grace and Spirituality will be discussed.
Just What Does the Orthodox Church Teach About the Virgin Mary and the Saints?
Most Protestant Christians have difficulty in accepting the teaching of the Orthodox Church on the Virgin Mary and the saints, and the veneration accorded by Orthodox Christians to them. What is the basis of the Orthodox Christian teaching of the Ever-Virgin Mary? Who are the saints? Why do Orthodox Christians pray at times to the Saints and Mary? Answers to these and other questions will be given.