FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is an Orthodox Christian?
Perhaps we should start by saying that an Orthodox Christian is a person who keeps the Orthodox Faith. We are the body of Christians who trace the ongoing Church we belong to, and the faith we keep back to Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
Are you Catholic?
Catholic has come to be understood as Roman Catholic. Originally catholic meant (and still means) universal. For example in the Creed said every Sunday, we say: “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”
Are you under the Pope?
Which one? We are not trying to be funny here. The word “pope” or “patriarch” has been and is applied to the Bishops who are the five heads of the ancient Christian Sees (areas) of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, and Constantinople. As all bishops are equal according to the ancient Church and primacy is an issue of honor, the Pope of Rome has been given a primacy of honor. Therefore being “under” a Patriarch simply means your diocese is connected to him spiritually and he holds the same faith you do.
Does the Pope of Rome hold the same faith as you do?
No. We agree on 95% of what constitutes the Orthodox Faith and practice. Orthodox Christians continue the practice of the early Church by having a married priesthood as well as monks and nuns. We keep the original Nicene Creed unchanged. Each bishop is equal to the next. Our Church is governed by synods (councils) of bishops. The head of the Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ. We keep the original teaching of the Trinity. Also, we keep the date of Pascha (Easter) according to the original Christian calendar.
But you have the seven sacraments?
Yes, we continue the practice of Chrismation (Confirmation) as practiced by the early Church. We also follow the tradition of Baptizing by immersion, Chrismation (anointing with holy Chrism and laying on of hands), and receiving First Holy Communion in one ceremony (even for babies). Orthodox Christians also experience God’s grace in Penance, Marriage, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick.
Did the Orthodox Church ever have a Protestant Reformation?
No. It wasn’t necessary. Orthodoxy did not stray from the original Faith and continued to have a centrality of the Bible, married Priesthood, a conciliar governance of the Church, and a theology of salvation and transformation of lives by faith in God’s grace.
But I heard you worship images... Is that true?
No. Worship is given to God alone. We do venerate (honor) the Mother of God and the Saints as examples (Christian heroes) of the Faith. Also, as we are an old family, we have icons (pictures) to remind us that we belong to an ancient Faith and others have died for that Faith. Only recently, (the last 80 years) millions of bishops, priests, deacons, monks and nuns, laypeople, even the Tsar and Tsarina and the Royal Family were martyred in Russia for believing in the Orthodox Faith. We keep an icon in our church to remind us that we, too, should be willing to suffer for our Christian Faith.
How can I learn more about this?
Just come visit on Sundays at 10 a.m., have breakfast afterwards, and ask questions of Archbishop Anthony.
Call for directions 914 262-3019
What will I experience?
You will experience the Liturgy which is a Communion service. It will contain readings from the bible, prayers for ourselves and others, a prayer of consecration and communion. Just relax and observe.
Will I be able to receive Communion?
Our Church takes the question of communion very seriously. It is most important that you speak to Father before receiving communion as we still practice the ancient fasting and well as other practices before communion. You will, however, receive a portion of blessed bread after the Liturgy as a sign of welcome and blessing.
Oh yes... I have one more question...why meet in a home?
The early Christians met in homes so we are following an ancient practice. The focus is on the Gospel, spiritual growth, and fellowship. Currently we have rented a building, but we still meet at times for feast day liturgies in a home.