Holy Orthodox Autocephalous Church Of Epirus
Why do we call ourselves "Orthodox"?
The word orthodox was coined by the ancient Christian Fathers of the Church, the name traditionally given to the Christian writers in the first centuries. Orthodox is a combination of two Greek words, orthos and doxa. - Orthos means "straight" or "upright, correct"; doxa means "glory", "worship" as well as "doctrine". So, the word orthodox signifies both "proper worship" and "correct doctrine". True Orthodox Christians are not defined by the company they keep, but by living their faith. Even the Protestant reformer Martin Luther is said to have once remarked that he believed the pure faith of primitive Christianity is to be found in the Orthodox Church.
Putting God's principles into action
Jesus fully entered the world with its political intrigue, religious hypocrisy and social injustice. He was never longing for a secluded religious community. He healed, dined with sinners, proclaimed His message, made friends, caused trouble with the religious leaders, prayed, traveled and gave hope to the poor. This simple yet authentic response was too threatening. The world could not tolerate such an existence. It asks for either compromise or death. Because compromise could not be given, death had to be embraced in order to show the worldliness of this world in all its starkest colors. We cannot simply live in this world. Soon or later we will be forced to compromise or to experience rejection.
What makes one Orthodox?
What makes one an Orthodox Christian is not only the persistence on the external aspects of Holy Tradition, but the experience of its inner life, which is the ascetic method – purification, illumination and Theosis. This method, these stages of spiritual life, are the foundation of the dogmas, the basis of ecclesiastical art, but also the creative cause of the ethos and customs of our people; because Orthodox theology saturated our forefathers prior to our westernization. For this reason we must struggle to keep this inner aspect of tradition, the method of Orthodox piety, through which we are healed. Then we are truly zealots of patristic Tradition. For, even if we have the best intentions, outside of this ascetic, therapeutic method, we run the risk of becoming enemies and adversaries of Orthodoxy.
[Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktis, Orthodox Metropolitan, Greece]
The nature of the Church
It can be safely concluded that the true nature of the Orthodox church is neither found in nor defined by external boundaries, such as Synods, Bishops’ Assemblies or other artificial institutions, but Orthodoxy is rather in the heart of those believers who truly believe and live the traditional Orthodox faith.
[Mar Melchizedek, Orthodox Bishop, USA]