WHAT DO WE ÌÅÁÍ ÂY ÔÇÅ WORD ORTHODOX
BY St John Maximovich
Shortly after the
doctrine of Christ began to be propagated among the Gentiles, the followers
of Christ in Antioch s- began to be called Christians (Acts ×É:26). ºhe word
"Christian" indicated that those who bore this name belonged ôïr- Christ --
belonged in the sense of devotion to Christ and his Doctrine. From Antioch
the name of Christian was spread everywhere.
ºhe followers of Christ gladly called themselves by the name of their
beloved Teacher and Lord; and the enemies of Christ 'r called His followers
Christians by carrying over to them the ,ill will and hatred which they
breathed against Christ.
However, quite soon there appeared people who, while calling themselves
Christians, were not of Christ in spirit. Of them É Christ had spoken
earlier: Íït everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the
Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in
heaven (5ô. Matt. VII: 5). Christ prophesied also that many would pass
themselves off for Christ Himself: Many shall come in my name, sayings 1 am
Christ (Matt. XXIV: 5). ºhe Apostles in their epistles indicated that false
bearers of the name of Christ had appeared already in their time: as ye have
heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists (É
ºhey indicated that those who stepped away from the doctrine of Christ
should not be considered their own: ºhey went out from us but were not of us
(É John ÉÉ:19)" Warning against quarrels and disagreements in minor matters
(É Cor. 1:10-14), at the same time the Apostles strictly commanded their
disciples to shun those who do not bring the true doctrine (ÉÉ John 1:10).
ºhe Lord, through the Revelation given to the Apostle John the Ttheologian,
sternly accused those who, calling themselves faithful, did not act in
accordance with their name; for in such a case it would be false for them.
Of what use was it of old to call oneself a Jew, an Old Testament follower
of the true faith, if one was not such in actuality? Such the Holy scripture
calls the synagogue of Satan (Apocalypse ÉÉ:9).
Én the same way, a Christian in the strict sense is he only who confesses
the true doctrine of Christ and lives in accordance with it. ºhe designation
of a Christian consists in glorifying , the Heavenly Father by one's life:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven (St. Matt. V:I6). But true
glorification of God is possible only if one rightly believes and expresses
his right belief in words and deeds. Therefore , true Christianity and it
alone may be named "right-glorifying" (Ortho-doxy). Thus, by the word '¼rthïdïxy"
we confess our firm conviction that it is precisely our Faith that is the
true doctrine of Christ. When we call anyone or anything Orthodox, we by
this very fact indicate his or its non-counterfeit and uncorrupted
Christianity, rejecting at the same time that which falsely appropriates the
name of Christ.
ORTHODOX HERITAGE -JUNE
2005- BROTHERHOOD OF ST. POIMEN