Russian Orthodoxy

  1. Church Dogma
    1. Religion not a legal relationship
    2. Mystical aspect of New Testament message more ii
    3. Central theme is not God's justice but his love.
    4. Priest regards himself to be no less of a sinner than his parishioners.
    5. Sin in Western Church - violation of the divinely established legal relationship. In Orthodoxy - diminution of essence, infection of the original image of God.
    6. Primacy of love. Love rather than justice dominates Orthodoxy.
    7. The Father regarded as the sole source and cause of the Son and the Holy Spirit. In West, the Spirit is held to proceed from the Father and he Son. This interpolated in the Nicene Creed - not in the original version.
  2. Liturgy and Sacraments
    1. Two standard liturgies: liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and liturgy of St. Basil.
    2. Some comparisons:
      1. In most Protestant churches worshipers sit on chairs or benches, sending their prayer to God. The Orthodox believer takes part in the service standing.
      2. No clasping hands in prayer, no palms pressed together.
      3. Gestures during the Orthodox Liturgy include: crossing, bowing, kneeling, the floor with the hand, prostration on the floor with arms outstretched and forehead pressed against the floor. Crossing of arms and pounding on the Kissing holy icons, altar and the Gospels.
    3. Sacraments.
      1. A sacrament is a holy act by which grace the redeeming power of God operates upon man in mysterious fashion.
      2. Roman Church has seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, ordination, marriage, unction for the sick. Orthodox church recognizes these seven sacraments, but does not have a limit on the number.
  3. Eucharist
    1. Celebration takes place only through the participation of the congregation. Priest cannot perform Eucharist alone.
    2. Christ comes down to the congregation. The meaning of the mystery is the union of earthly and the celestial.